Eric Mangini took over as the 12th-full time coach in Browns history Thursday with a full appreciation of the team's tradition and a vow that he's changed in the three years he spent with the New York Jets.
''You learn there's so many things there's no handbook for,'' Mangini said. ''They say there's five things that come up every single day you don't have scheduled, there might be seven, there might be 10. You learn from all those experiences and grow from them.
"And I don't mean how I've grown'' in size, he said, motioning about the weight he's gained since his time as a Browns ball boy and public relations intern in 1994.
Mangini, who turns 38 on Jan. 19, called it an incredible honor to be the fourth coach hired by the Browns since 1999. He was the first person interviewed by owner Randy Lerner after he fired coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Phil Savage after a 4-12 season.
''When I first came to Cleveland I was a 23-year-old ball boy,'' Mangini said. ''I had to explain that to my mom. I had a lot of student loans. She'd see pictures of me with 11 or 12-year-olds and I've got my arm around them and a towel, it's a hard sell. I'd say, 'Mom, this is the Cleveland Browns.' She didn't really understand that.
''When Randy called me last week it was the same feeling, the same level of excitement, the same level of pride. The Dawg Pound, Jim Brown, all those special things, this is one of the most storied franchises in football history.''
Mangini said he intends to stick with the 3-4 defense, but will not run it if he doesn't feel he has the right personnel.
He said he will talk with Crennel about staying on in some role and said he believes Crennel will consider it even though he will not be Mangini's choice for defensive coordinator. His coordinator jobs are expected to go to Jets quarterbacks coach Brian Daboll and Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
Lerner did not appear at Thursday's press conference. Mangini was introduced by team president Mike Keenan.