Over the last several hours, several rumors floating around NFL circles have come to light which seem to confirm a Mangini hiring could very well happen as early as the middle of this week:
- The canceling of the Jim Schwartz interview had nothing to do with a scheduling conflict, but, rather, everything to do with word spreading around the league that Mangini was owner Randy Lerner's hands-down choice for the vacancy. With the Titans in the midst of the playoffs, the source said, their defensive coordinator had no desire to "waste his time" on an opening he felt he had no reasonable opportunity to fill.
- We have heard that Mangini spoke to current offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and/or defensive coordinator Mel Tucker either late last week or over the weekend. There is no word on the specifics of the conversations -- if they indeed took place -- and whether or not one, both or neither would be retained should Mangini land the job.
- Mangini has spoken to several assistant coaches over the last week, coaches not currently on the Browns staff, and that he is currently putting a list of people together to fill his coaching staff in Cleveland. The sources refused to identify any coach specifically.
- And whither Scott Pioli? Nick Athan of Scout.com's Kansas City Chiefs website tells us that Pioli has taken Cleveland out of the running and will likely return to New England in his current position. While no sources have been able to confirm as much to The OBR, it makes sense if the talks with Mangini are so extensive that he could be hired over the course of the next day or two.
While it's far from a certainty that Mangini will be the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns, all signs are pointing in that general direction and could very well go down rather quickly.
Of course, at this time last week -- and at several points in between -- those very same signs were pointing in the general direction of Pioli.