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Mangini reaching out to disgruntled Browns DT Rogers
By Adam Schefter | NFL.com
As much as Eric Mangini has tried to change the culture in Cleveland, one of his biggest challenges now is changing the mind of Browns defensive tackle Shaun Rogers.
Rogers has grown so disenchanted with the situation in Cleveland that he has asked the Browns not to pick up the $6 million option-bonus payment due to him next month, a source close to the defensive tackle said. Rogers would rather be released after one season with the Browns, despite still being owed another $15 million in guaranteed money.
The Browns said Rogers hasn't asked them to be released.
Cutting Rogers would be difficult to do financially. If the Browns release Rogers, they would have to count more than $9.7 million against their salary cap.
Cleveland has no intention of getting rid of Rogers. It wants him back as the productive team member he was last season, when he was selected to the Pro Bowl. Browns coach Eric Mangini, according to those within the Cleveland organization, is still optimistic that he can change Rogers' mind once the two men speak. Mangini is said to have recently reached out to Rogers. Those who know Rogers say his mind will not be changed.
But Mangini has had success in these types of settings. When he arrived in New York as the Jets' coach in 2006, wide receiver Laveranues Coles was, at best, a skeptic, but Mangini eventually won him over.
Mangini has said publicly that when change occurs, as it did in Cleveland, there is uncertainty and that can create misunderstandings like the one that has happened now.
Some of Rogers' feelings stem back to two offseason incidents in which he believes Mangini disrespected him. The first time, Mangini walked into the Browns' training room and failed to say hello to Rogers. The next time, at a public charity function in which both men were in the green room, neither said hello to the other, and Mangini later said he didn't know Rogers was there.
"Anytime someone new comes in, there's a process of getting to know that person," Mangini said Feb. 4. "I feel really comfortable with who I am and the things I do. I know that everything is done for a very specific reason and that is to give us the best chance to win. I feel really good about the relationships that I had in New York with the players there. I think that the things that they have said are things I feel really good about. I anticipate having those same types of relationships here."
The Browns believe that, once Rogers hears out Mangini, the same will occur. The situation will be soothed over, hard feelings will dissipate and Cleveland will have a happy defensive tackle.
"I didn't realize Shaun was there at the time," Mangini said earlier this offseason of the green-room incident. "I know it's probably hard to believe considering how big he is and how big I am. I feel really good about watching him on tape. I always appreciate 360-pound nose guards. He's powerful, disruptive, has a high motor, and I’m looking forward to that."
Some believe there are other reasons driving Rogers' desire to leave the Browns. But before the situation is resolved, Mangini will have his say with the player whose mind he now must change.