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Mangini staying put

Patriots sweeten offer for coordinator post

After reviewing his options, Eric Mangini decided yesterday to accept the Patriots' offer to be the team's defensive coordinator, succeeding Romeo Crennel.

The 34-year-old Mangini, who has been Bill Belichick's defensive backs coach since February 2000 -- and through three Super Bowl championship seasons -- was also sought by the Browns and Dolphins but elected to take the lowest paying of the three offers he received.

Mangini, who was in Cleveland Friday being wooed by new Browns coach Crennel, took a call from Belichick late Friday night that sweetened the team's offer. He decided to stay put.

The call brought New England's offer of $500,000 a season over three years closer to the $800,000 average the Browns were offering. Mangini, according to league sources, turned down a three-year, $2.5 million package from the Dolphins, whom he visited Thursday.

Belichick, playing at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament in California, praised Mangini. "He's done a great job for us with the secondary," Belichick said. "[He has] big shoes to fill with Romeo, but Eric's a great young coach. He's been with me for a long time, he's done a great job for our football team for the last five years."

Now the Patriots are hoping tight ends/assistant offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, who is being pursued by the Browns to be their offensive line coach, also will stay in Foxborough.

Davidson, who had been in the running to be the Patriots' offensive coordinator, likely will be the offensive line coach if he stays. The coordinator's job is probably going to Dante Scarnecchia, the team's assistant head coach and offensive line coach. If the Patriots need a tight ends coach, Belichick may turn to former Giants tight end Mark Bavaro, who has been at recent Patriots training camps. Also, former Patriot Ben Coates, currently the head coach at Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C., is interested in being an NFL tight ends coach and has reached out to Belichick.It's unclear whether the Patriots will fill Mangini's defensive backs post or allow him to do both jobs. Mangini pulled off what many consider one of the best coaching jobs in the NFL this season by patching up a secondary that lost two starting corners, Ty Law and Tyrone Poole. Meanwhile, vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli has been granted permission to speak to the Seahawks about becoming their president of football operations, but neither the Patriots nor Pioli responded to inquiries about whether he would interview.. . .
Free safety Eugene Wilson, who broke a bone in his right arm in the Super Bowl, will not require surgery.

Material from Associated Press was used in this report.

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