While Browns receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs lobbied for Eric Mangini to stay Sunday, quarterback Jake Delhomme was one of the most complimentary players who spoke after Mangini was fired on Monday.
"It's disappointing. He's a very good man, he's a very good coach and he's someone I'm glad I got to know, glad I got to play for,'' Delhomme said. "You learned a lot of football. It's a different way than I've ever done it from where I came from. But at the same time it's proven to be successful. Just we weren't successful enough.
"He's been great to me, he's been great to the team, he never hid anything from us. Ultimately in this business it's about wins and losses and we only won five games. As a player you have to feel responsible also that you didn't get it done. Sure we were close in a lot of games, but close doesn't get it in the NFL.''
Delhomme said when Mangini addressed the team in a 10 a.m. meeting, he didn't get emotional.
"No, he was very even-keeled, typical Eric,'' Delhomme said. "He appreciated all our efforts. Typical Eric. I do respect him a great deal.''
Asked what he meant about Mangini's different way, Delhomme said, "The offense was somewhat similar, but in meetings and practices and things that way that I was ... but it's a proven way that's worked. Eric comes from the Belichick coaching tree and obviously that works. It's just as players we didn't make enough plays to win. There's different ways to skin a cat.
"We as players, that's what you have to look at, we as players did not help him keep his job. It's easy, people will paint themselves a victim and say, 'Well, it was because of this, it was because of that.' Well, no, look in the mirror. Did you do enough? Did we do enough? That's ultimately the whole thing. Coaches coach and players play.''
Delhomme wasn't sure if all his teammates share his opinion that they were to blame for the team's second consecutive 5-11 season.
"I don't know. You'd like to think that opinion is shared,'' Delhomme said. "We'll see. You've got to look in the mirror first. That's what I believe in and I've been a part of very successful football teams. When you have all those guys who look at it in that way, you win. It's plain and simple.''
Tight end Ben Watson, signed as a free agent from New England this season, said Mangini was much different than his mentor, the Patriots' Bill Belichick.
"They may seem a little bit alike in their interviews sometimes, but they're really very different people. They carry themselves very differently,'' Watson said. "It wasn't like I was playing for a clone or anything like that. So there was some adjustment there going from coach Belichick to coach Mangini, and it'll be an adjustment going to whoever the next coach is. But football is going to stay the same. It's gonna be about execution, and it's gonna be about winning and losing. So that's gonna stay the same.''
Safety Abram Elam was a key part of the draft day 2009 trade with that allowed the New York Jets to select quarterback Mark Sanchez. Elam came into his own in 2010 with several big plays.
Asked what Mangini meant to him, Elam said, "I have an unbelievable amount of respect for coach Mangini. He's done a lot for me and my career and I just thanked him for the opportunity, bringing me here and being able to continue to go forth in my career.''
Cornerback Sheldon Brown, acquired from the Eagles in an April 6 trade, said he learned a lot from Mangini, who spent five years in New England as defensive backs coach, three more as a defensive assistant and one as defensive coordinator.
"He taught me a lot about the game and it just didn't work out,'' Brown said. "I'm pretty sure he'll get his shot somewhere else.''