- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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When the "SpyGate" videotaping scandal erupted in September 2007, then-New York Jets coach Eric Mangini deflected questions on whether he blew the whistle on his former team, the New England Patriots. Privately, Jets officials claimed Mangini had no involvement.
On Tuesday, Mangini hinted that he played a role in busting the Patriots, admitting he has "a lot of regrets." It ruined his relationship with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, a former mentor with whom he shared famously frosty handshakes during his three seasons as the Jets' coach.
"It's one of those things where the end result wasn't the goal," Mangini said on WEEI sports radio in Boston, according to quotes on the station's web site. "I owe so much to Bill. I appreciate what he's done for me and my intention was never to hurt him or the (Patriots) organization, the Kraft family.
"Yeah, there's a lot of regrets, I didn't want to hurt him or the Patriots by any stretch."
On Sept. 9, 2007, a Patriots cameraman was caught illegally videotaping the Jets' sideline during a game at Giants Stadium. It mushroomed into a huge controversy that hovered over the Patriots during their historic 16-0 season in 2007.
Ultimately, the league handed down severe sanctions, with Belichick receiving a $500,000 fine. The Patriots were fined $250,000 and were stripped of a first-round draft pick.
Mangini came to the Jets from the Patriots, where he served as a defensive assistant under Belichick. The two men were extremely close, but their relationship began to sour when Mangini left for the Jets in 2006. It was widely assumed at the time of "SpyGate" that Mangini notified the league of Belichick's videotaping practices.
"I wasn't happy (with) the end result," said Mangini, currently employed by ESPN as a studio analyst. "How it could have been different, how different decisions and events could have taken place. I'm not sure how it would have played out differently. I just didn't want it to play out the way it did."
Asked to describe his current relationship with Belichick, Mangini called it "a work in progress."
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.
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