Having covered the Cleveland Browns during the 1990s, it's hard not to think of Eric Mangini as another of Bill Belichick's kids.
There was New England Patriots pro personnel director Scott Pioli getting his start as a personnel assistant for the Browns. Mangini arrived as a ball boy in 1993 and was eventually elevated to a staff assistant in 1995. Baltimore Ravens personnel assistant George Kokinis, who could join new Browns coach Mangini as general manager, was a personnel assistant after serving an internship.
It was a modern-day version of the 1960s TV series "My Three Sons." Belichick played the father role. Piloi, Mangini and Kokinis were the three sons, always hoping to please Pops.
Close to two decades later, Pioli is a key member of the Patriots' highly successful front office. Kokinis is awaiting clearance to land in Cleveland for an interview with owner Randy Lerner. Mangini, after three seasons as the New York Jets coach, was to be introduced today as the replacement for Romeo Crennel as coach of the Browns.
Long before coaching the Jets, Mangini was the intern who quietly walked into the Browns media room and wanted to know what reporters needed. He was an intelligent young man you thought might arrive in lower Manhattan as a banker, not on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River as coach of the Jets.
Mangini, after being fired by the Jets 10 days ago, now has the monumental task of trying to resurrect the fortunes of the Browns, a franchise that hasn't been the same since his former boss, Belichick, helped drive it into the ground and all the way to Baltimore after the 1995 season.
On the surface, Lerner's decision to hire Mangini seems like history revisited. Four years ago he brought in Crennel, a Belichick defensive assistant, and general manager Phil Savage, Ozzie Newsome's right-hand man in Baltimore, thinking all things Belichick were magic.
The problem was Belichick wasn't part of the potion. The magic blew up in Lerner's face, which has him scrambling for other ways to make David Copperfield green with envy.
Once again, Lerner has brought in a Belichick coaching protege - Mangini. He might be close to bringing in another personnel specialist from the Ravens in Kokinis.
The limb Lerner is putting himself on isn't exactly firm. If his latest attempt to get it right with a little bit New England and a little bit Baltimore doesn't work, he might want to think about spending more time with Aston Villa, his more successful English Premier Soccer League team.
Mangini admittedly was hard on his players to the point he apologized to them after Jets owner Woody Johnson sent him packing. Browns fans should like the fact Mangini can identify his faults, which means he might be willing to change the next time he gets a chance.
Mangini's body language on the sideline was terrible. When opponents scored against the Jets, the look on Mangini's face indicated disappointment with coaches in the press box and not with him on the sideline.
But according to writers who covered Mangini, he was at the forefront when accepting his share of the blame when things didn't go well. His body language might have been poor during the game, but the words he spoke afterward told a different story.
Belichick had numerous faults during his five seasons in Cleveland. When he left, he needed a makeover that seemed too extreme to pull off.
Somehow, Belichick went from a joke to a giant among coaches. Mangini doesn't need to change that much to make his second try work.
Maybe one of Belichick's kids will finally strike it big beyond his fatherly shadow. Frustrated Browns fans are waiting, without much patience.