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Brown: Mangini should stay with Cleveland, which wants Holmgren

Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown believes embattled Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini deserves another year.

Mangini improved to 3-11 in his first season in Cleveland with a 41-34 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, but he could be fired if Mike Holmgren accepts an offer to head the Browns' football operations.

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Holmgren didn't rule out a return to the sideline when he said Friday that the Browns' offer would include "any and all" of the titles of president, general manager and coach.

Following Sunday's victory, Brown, an executive advisor for team owner Randy Lerner, said Mangini should be back in 2010. Brown believes the team is improving with "a lot of young people who we don't know who are playing good football." Brown also said he didn't want to contradict his boss.

Holmgren said on a radio show Friday that he would give Lerner an answer "sooner than later." A possible move to Cleveland became more plausible Saturday when Holmgren turned down a front-office position with the Seattle Seahawks, the team he coached for 10 seasons and took to its only Super Bowl appearance.

Holmgren guided the Green Bay Packers to two Super Bowls, winning one.

Mangini was asked during his Monday news conference if the Holmgren situation is distracting him and the team.

"No. I'm focused on the group, the team," Mangini said. "That's what I'm focused on. ... You got to be able (to avoid distractions). You have to realize what's important, and that's the opponent."

Cleveland has won consecutive games for the first time since last season, adding another wrinkle to Mangini's uncertain future. The coach could use the Browns' late-season surge as proof to Holmgren -- or whoever is Cleveland's next top executive -- that he should be given more time.

However, if Holmgren wants to coach again, then Mangini would be fired for the second consecutive year. He was dismissed by the New York Jets after last season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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