Berea—Eric Mangini has a vivid memory of seeing Jamal Lewis run over several of his Jets defenders with 1:22 to play in the fourth quarter of a Dec. 9, 2007, game at The Meadowlands.
The Browns were trying to run out the clock clinging to a 17-15 when Lewis bowled over would-be tackler after would-be tackler on his way to a 31-yard touchdown to preserve at 24-18 win over the Jets. Lewis rushed for 118 yards on 21 carries in that game.
"I've always been impressed with how physical and tough Jamal is," Mangini said. "What I've been most impressed with Jamal is what he does in the meeting rooms in helping tutor (the younger players) and work with the other players.
"Coming from a guy like Jamal, it tends to sink in even further to the other players."
Lewis is coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons, as well as surgery on his ankle, but the Browns have not targeted running back as a position of need in free agency or the draft.
Mangini thinks Lewis can still be effective. He mentioned Lewis as one of the players who impressed him in his initial press conference after his hiring.
"This system fits him and what I've seen of him on tape has shown up on the field."
Mangini said he hasn't decided on how he will use the running backs, yet.
"You can work the running back rotation a lot of different ways," he said. "In New York, Leon (Washington) took some first- and second-down reps. There are ways to mix it up."
Mangini didn't rule out bringing in another running back, but wouldn't say it was a priority with potential June 1 cuts looming.
"I wouldn't say we're looking at that position, but overall we're always looking to add players. We go through the waiver wire each day and so it's not just a big event on that day. We'll take a look at who's available and make a decision."
MANGINI LIKES STEINBACH: There have been some speculation that Mangini might not be high on OL Eric Steinbach. Seen as a tall, slender lineman at 6-6, 295 pounds, some have felt that Mangini might be more in favor of a road grader type player on the interior such as Rex Hadnot (6-2, 320).
"Steinbach's very athletic and I really liked him coming out of college," Mangini said. "I feel like I've known him for a long time and he has a lot of good qualities. Now, we want to continue to accentuate them."
Mangini was asked if he wanted to Steinbach to gain weight, but he didn't really answer the question.
"We want them to be at the optimum weight to get to the point where they can be the most effective."
TUNE TIME: Early on in the Browns' practices, it is evident that Mangini likes to play loud music during practices. He said he's done that the past three years while coaching the Jets and says there is reasons for it.
"Often time we play music during stretching so it's the same as the stadium at home or away," he said. "We try to get a playlist of the pregame music of the stadiums we'll play at."
Mangini said there are other reasons, as well.
"The players can't really go to the coaches and it makes them be ready on their own."
Mangini says he is open to requests from the players, but the criteria is that the lyrics are clean.
MANGINI'S FOUNDATION: Mangini said he and his brother started a foundation to help underprivileged children get an opportunity to experience things that they might not otherwise get the chance to.
He is hosting a camp in his hometown of Hartford, CT. this weekend.
"I have a football camp in Hartford," he said. "There will be about 800 kids and 125 coaches. It should be a great day. It gives kids a chance to get some coaching that they might not be able to get.
"We asked ourselves what opportunity could we create for kids," he said. "My brother and I wanted to start a foundation to help create a window of opportunity to help those kids."
Mangini hosted a group of children at a minicamp practice last week and is doing so again on Thursday.
"It is important to me to have a group of kids in to have a special experience," he said. "It's something that I think it's really important because we've all had a helping hand to get where we're at. I don't want the players and us to forget that."
Mangini said that he hopes to get more involved in the same types of efforts in Cleveland.