Mangini's brings in guest speakers

On Friday night at minicamp, Jets coach Eric Mangini had three former pro athletes, he admires, come to Hempstead to speak to the entire club, and teach them some valuable life and football lessons. Here are Mangini's thoughts on why he decided to do this:

Last night we brought in some speakers to talk to the team.

Roman (Phifer) is a guy that I have a great relationship with, I really care about, and I really respect as a player and as a person. He played in the league for 15 years. He has seen a lot of things. He was with the Jets, and with the Patriots during the championship years. He's got a lot of wisdom.

I wanted him to share some of that wisdom, and I wanted him to give his perspective as a player who's been at a lot of different places. He has knowledge on how the team can be more successful, how individual players can be more successful and how you can be a 15-year veteran.

We also had Ray Lucas speak last night, giving his unique insight. There's a guy, he created all of his opportunities. He wasn't drafted. He was a quarterback. He knows how to go in, and play a new role. I think his quote was, "I would have shined helmets for an opportunity; I just wanted to get there. Once I got there, they weren't going to run me out. I was going to make the team."

That's so important, that selfless attitude that he had, that determination. He wasn't going to let anybody prevent him from being successful, and he was going to do whatever it took for him to be successful and for the team to be successful. I admired that in him as a player. Eventually, he did get an opportunity to play quarterback, which he took advantage of. That's who Ray Lucas is. He creates opportunities and he takes advantage of his opportunities.

The other speaker that we brought in was Dan O'Brien. He is an incredible athlete, and incredible person and an incredible story. It's an individual sport, but arguably the hardest thing in the world to compete in. He was special. I wanted him to talk about what it took to be a world class athlete, what kind of sacrifices you have to make to be that special athlete. His message was fantastic.

That's what those players and special guests were doing here last night. I think it was a great message.

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