Does 'Spygate' ruin Pioli-Mangini pairing in Cleveland?

January, 2, 2009
1/02/09
1:30
PM ET
 
  AP Photos/Getty Images
  The Cleveland Browns are interested in New England Patriots Vice President Scott Pioli. But would he be willing to work with former New York Jets coach Eric Mangini?

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The Cleveland Browns want New England Patriots general manager Scott Pioli to run their organization in 2009.

Cleveland also has interest in former New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini.

But coming off last year's "Spygate" controversy, could both sides coexist in Cleveland?

This is a huge question that has yet to be answered during the Browns' high-profile coach and GM search this week.

It's obvious Mangini and Patriots coach Bill Belichick could no longer work together after their issues became public and prompted a league-wide investigation. But no one knows if that strain has transferred to Pioli, who worked side-by-side with Belichick in New England.

Pioli and Mangini would not be a bad pairing -- especially for a struggling franchise like Cleveland -- as long as there are no residual issues between the two. It's a good chance Browns owner Randy Lerner is looking into those questions this week.

If Pioli is hired by the Browns, he likely will get to pick his own head coach. So everyone would find out soon enough if Mangini is on Pioli's list.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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