Camp Mangini reconvenes, without bus trip

E_Mangini.jpgLast June, Browns coach Eric Mangini triggered a controversy by taking the team’s first-year players by bus from Cleveland to Connecticut for participation in the annual youth football camp Mangini hosts in his hometown.

This year?  No bus.

Zac Jackson of, who worked for the Browns’ official website last year and rode the bus to and from Hartford, takes a look at this year’s edition of the camp — but also confirms some of the details from last year’s “voluntary” involvement of the team’s incoming draft picks and street free agents.

“As if any of the rookies were going to decline
the invitation,” Jackson observes.

He says that at least one rookie “complained privately” about giving up a weekend to attending the camp, the meat in the sandwich of a pair of 10-hour bus rides.  “[T]heir agents got to the  media,” Jackson writes, “and threw a
public fit.”

Mangini didn’t take the bus to Hartford, opting to fly instead.  Due in large part (if not exclusively) to the criticism, Mangini took the bus back to Cleveland with the players.

Lost in the controversy was the fact that Mangini’s camp provides a benefit to kids in New England, a lot of whom don’t have to pay the $45 fee.  Nearly 1,000 youths will participate in today’s camp.

“Even the guys on the bus acknowledged they’d
gotten more out of it than they’d ever thought possible,” Jackson said regarding last year’s camp.

Still, the manner in which it was handled became one of the many complaints that players conveyed to their agents, and that their agents conveyed to the media during Mangini’s first year on the job.

I asked Mangini about the stream of gripes from last year when I met with him 11 days ago for our upcoming Season Preview magazine.  “I think that everybody wants progress, but not a lot of people like change,” Mangini said.  “And it’s difficult to change.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  So you have to change, and with that there’s going to be certain people that are going to resist it.”

Still, Mangini later acknowledged that last year wasn’t perfect.  “I made mistakes, and I made mistakes in New York, and I’ll probably make mistakes this year, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t learn from them and do better at them,” Mangini said.

This year, he didn’t make the mistake of loading up a bus and hauling his first-year players to Hartford, which shows that he’s capable of and willing to make changes.  Whether more substantive changes will be made as to tactics that gave rise to complaints like practices that went on for too long and post-practice “opportunity periods” that resulted in at least one season-ending injury (to running back James Davis) remains to be seen.

The reality, in our view, is that Mangini’s methods come not from malice but from a genuine belief that his way will lead to winning.  The problem is that the means won’t be accepted until justified by success of the kind that his mentor, Bill Belichick, has experienced.

21 responses to “Camp Mangini reconvenes, without bus trip

  1. God, Florio…you’re such a whore.
    Stirring up some shit about Mangini, just so you can sell your stupid magazine.
    If you’re gonna do that, at least donate a portion of that $8 per copy to Mangini’s camp for kids, instead of buying more Brett Frave blow-up dolls…

  2. Mangini’s methods are working. It was obvious last year before they even started winning. The “opportunity periods” may have led to an injury or two (didn’t Davis initially sustain his shoulder injury in the Minnesota game?) but they also led to the emergence of Brian Schaffering, Marcus Benard, and Evan Moore. I hope the opportunity periods continue because they give guys a chance to prove themselves against their contemporaries even though they aren’t getting lots of reps in practice.

  3. That was a pretty crumby move. Most people in local sports give back to the communities that pay their bills. God forbid Man-genius didn’t think to have something for the poor kids in East Cleveland.

  4. Probably more like, “You WILL NOT take a busload of rookies to your personal event this year! If we involve our players, we’ll do it here in Cleveland,” from Holmgren. That would be the right thing to do since you work in CLEVELAND. Wonder why Mangini thinks Cleveland is a place good enough to make money in, but not good enough to do some good in? It just seems so obvious, but like most people, it has to be spelled out to this embarassingly thick individual. Not to effin’ bright.

  5. I think this guy might finally be getting it. I say this because it took a fluff piece about some hoopla from last year to get his name on the radar this year. I haven’t read or heard much about Mandingo this off season, whereas in years past he would have been the topic of all kinds of TMZ posts like this one. It’s still messed up that he made them ride a bus at all, much less chose to fly himself!
    I guess there’s not much like a couple years of losing to get a man to eat some of that humble pie.
    We’ll see how long it lasts, but it seems like he might finally be turning a corner in the direction away from absolute prickness.

  6. I see a few people already pointed out “why not do something for the kids in Cleveland”…my thoughts exactly.

  7. Little about Mangini has changed. Instead, Holmgren is now aboard and is feeding the media their access. Amazing how a content media doesn’t trump up stories over every little issue. Amazing.

  8. Maybe the Browns should play Mangini’s team so they could know what it feels like to win a game.

  9. The only comment that needs to be posted on any Doug Heffernan-Mangini is that he is a lame duck coach with 16 games or less left.
    Who cares what doug does or says at this point.

  10. I love how, though the headline would suggest this story is about Mangini’s 201o camp, it’s *really* a rehash of bitching about Mangini’s 2009 camp. Nice work, Mike.

  11. I’ll say the same thing I said last year, If the rookies are too busy to take one weekend out of their oh so busy schedules to do some charity work then screw em. Mangini is doing a good thing and I think it should be required because it developes character for some of the spoiled guys who thought they’d get drafted and just collect a check. Am I the only one who gets sick of hearing about members of NFL teams getting arrested for stupid things. There is much better things to do with your fame and fortune than party and get in trouble. Good for Eric.

  12. Mangini started this program when he was with the Jets. The foundation of the program is built around his High School.
    Here is a part of the article Florio choose NOT to include:
    WADSWORTH — A year ago today, my dateline was Hartford, Conn. I was working for the Browns, and my assignment was to cover the Eric Mangini Football Camp in Mangini’s hometown….
    Bulkeley High, Mangini’s alma mater, is a city school. Most of the campers are city kids; boxing trainer and analyst Teddy Atlas charters a bus for New York City kids, many of whom have never been out of the city. Kids from all over New England come to compete and learn, many on “scholarship” to cover the $45 fee. “”
    No good deed goes punished.

  13. This year the massive luggage trailer which carried Mangini last year was not available.

  14. Still don’t understand how these guys think they get paid to only participate in “mandatory” activities. Working year round is just insane.

  15. E.M. made up for the kids lacking the 45 bucks out of his water bottle fine fund. Put me down for not past week 12. Holmgren can send E.M. back to CT. in a WM truck ASAP as far as I am concerned.

  16. Maybe it is because the camp is held at his alma mater? Could that be the potential reason for him doing the camp there?
    My lord, some of you people are just flat out, no excuses, ignorant! I am sure that Mangini and Co. would and probably do a youth camp in the Cleveland area. And if he doesn’t, the one HE runs has been running for about 5 years now in his hometown. Makes plenty of sense to continue to give back to your community and to continue a good thing that you started!
    Let me add…. Why do any of you want him to run a camp in Cleveland anyways? 3/4 of Browns fans hate the guy as it is. So why do you want him to help that community. I love the Browns, their franchise personnel, and my fellow fans. But a good majority of you fall into the STUPID category!

  17. I respect Mangenius giving back to his home but, doesn’t he also have previous history with the Browns? Why wouldn’t he want to give back to the local community? If not, let him go back to Ct. then.

  18. How about letting Mangini be a ticket taker at one of those World Cup exhibition soccer games in South Africa ?

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