Eric Mangini was fired by President Mike Holmgren Monday morning after a meeting between the two.
The OBR's Lane Adkins learned from two organizational sources shortly after 9 a.m. that Mangini will be relieved of his duties and word quickly spread through the Browns organization. About an hour later, OBR's Fred Greetham reported the team made it official.
"This decision was not easy for me, and it was one into which I put a great deal of thought," said Holmgren, in a statement released by the team. "Although we have made improvements this season, my responsibility is to ensure that we establish a program that will allow this team to compete at a championship level. That will continue to be our goal in everything we do. I want to thank Eric for all of his contributions to the Cleveland Browns, and wish him and his family the best of luck in the future."
Mangini was brought on board as the Cleveland Browns head coach in January 2009, shortly after being relieved of his duties as head coach of the New York Jets after three seasons. Mangini finished with a 23-25 overall record in New York, with his dismissal following a late-season collapse by the Jets and their QB Brett Favre.
"The experience coaching the Cleveland Browns the past two years has been tremendous," Mangini said in a statement. "I appreciate the opportunity that the Lerner family gave me. I have a deep respect for the players that I have coached the past two years and how they made a profound difference in changing the culture—a tougher, smarter, more competitive, selfless team that never gave up.
"Our goal was to build a team for longer term success," he said. "The core characteristics we were dedicated to, I believe,will help achieve that goal, and have provided a strong identity for this football team and have helped to create a positive foundation upon which the organization can continue to build."
Mangini's early tenure in Cleveland was marked by somewhat rapacious "gotcha" journalism, as local and national reporters focused on stories such as high water bottle fines and rookie bus trips. The coverage and the team's poor start led to widespread fan dissatisfaction with Mangini as a head coach, which reached a peak as the team headed into the home stretch of the 2009 campaign. The Browns steadily improved under Mangini, however, and finished with a four-game winning streak that convinced Team President Mike Holmgren to retain Mangini for the 2010 season.
The Browns finished the 2010 and 2009 seasons with identical 5-11 records, but collapsed in the late-going during Mangini's second year following the team's high point: mid-season victories over the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots. The late-season collapse included losses to some of the league's worst teams, the Bengals and Bills, and culminated with an embarrassing 41-9 home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mangini finished his Browns coaching tenure with a record of 10-22.
"I feel strongly that the Cleveland Browns are headed in a very positive direction and greatly value the commitment and exceptional efforts of the coaches, players and everyone in the building that I've worked with in trying to help achieve our goals," Mangini said. "My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed living in the Cleveland community and appreciate the support and passion of the fans, I know Mike and Tom (Heckert) are also dedicated to building a championship caliber organization and wish them nothing but success."