Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 6/5/13

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 07: Head coach Eric Mangini of the New York Jets looks on the field against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL game on December 7, 2008 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Eric Mangini landed his new job with the San Francisco 49ers in part because he never left Northeast Ohio after being fired as Browns head coach following the 2010 season. Over the last two seasons, the 49ers have not only been one of the NFL's best teams but also unofficially have been Ohio's third NFL team. In both 2011 and 2012, the 49ers spent almost a full week in Youngstown -- the home of the DeBartolo Family, the 49ers' founding owners -- during a two-game regular season road swing rather than return to West Coast. Both times, Mangini visited a 49ers practice and his old friend and former Browns special teams coachassistant head coach, Brad Seely. During both visits, Mangini and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh talked football, and earlier this spring Mangini saw a familiar number pop up on his cell phone. It was Harbaugh, and it was the first of several calls that led to Mangini being offered an opportunity to return to the league. This week, Mangini was officially introduced as a senior offensive assistant by the 49ers. Long regarded in league circles as a top defensive mind, this new gig offers more than just a chance for Mangini to get back in the game after two years working part-time in TV while extending the long list of football people getting paid by the Cleveland Browns to not actually work for the Cleveland Browns. It's a new challenge -- and a new chance. "It's definitely a goal of mine to be a head coach again," Mangini said. "Right now, I want to do what I can do here as long as I can do it." Exactly what he'll do for the 49ers remains part mystery and part work-in-progress. Harbaugh said Mangini will "be consulting on offense. (We) feel like we added a really talented, knowledgeable coach. You look at how defenses are going prepare for us, and where we can attack defenses. Thats what his role will be, helping game planning and overall offensive scheme." Mangini, who served two seasons working on the offensive side early in his career, said his role "is evolving and will continue to evolve. The idea of working on offense is really interesting. It gives you a totally different perspective. "I like the approach. I like the idea of working with Jim. It's intriguing." Mangini, his wife and three young children continued to live in Moreland Hills, an eastern Cleveland suburb, after he was fired by the Browns and he commuted for two years to Connecticut during his two years as an ESPN NFL analyst. They'll move to the San Francisco area soon as Mangini has signed a two-year contract with the 49ers. "There are other coaches on our staff whove coached with him," Harbaugh said. "And I called Eric up and asked him if hed be interested (and) described the role. He came out and visited for about three days, maybe two weeks ago. And weve been in conversation since then. I explained where I thought he could really help us. I think hell be a great addition. I think it makes us better. "The idea is that youre either getting better or youre getting worse, but youre never staying the same. What ways can we get better? Were trying to chase that and see if we cant get a mile an hour faster." However it ends up working out -- for the 49ers or for Mangini personally -- credit Harbaugh for forward thinking and not being afraid to try something new. He joins a couple former Browns and familiar faces already added to the 49ers roster this offseason in kicker Phil Dawson and quarterback Colt McCoy. In a postively Mangini-like signing, the 49ers also announced the addition of former Browns special teamer Ray Ventrone on the same day they made Mangini's hiring official. Asked earlier this week what Mangini might bring, McCoy told San Francisco-area reporters, "he's brilliant." He's certainly ready to get back to work. "Ideally, I'll help 49ers stay a step ahead of what defenses do," Mangini said. "(In the 49ers organization) it's egoless, and that's really appealing. Everybody just wants to get to the right answer. Input seems to be really encouraged and I'm glad to offer it if it can help."
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