Posted by Sabrina B. @gametimegirl

Eric Mangini’s three-year run as Jets coach ended with a midnight phone call from GM Mike Tannenbaumhours after the great collapse of 2008 ended. He gets his first shot at revenge Sunday when the Jets travel to Cleveland.

Mangini was more appreciative for the opportunity than bitter about getting fired when I spoke to him Tuesday for an interview that will air Tuesday night on “This Week In Football,” on the YES Network.

“For me, personally, it’s special to play the Jets,” Mangini said from the Browns offices in Berea, Ohio. “Just like last week it was special to play New England because I was able to take so much from both of those organizations. And in New York, they gave me my first opportunity to be a head coach.

“I was really proud of the things that we did there and I learned a lot and been able to take those lessons here to Cleveland, apply those lessons here to Cleveland, grew a lot as a head coach. I just really appreciate that time, that experience, those people, all those guys that worked hard. It was a really special time in my life, both personally and professionally.”

The Browns are 3-5 but on a roll in their last two games after beating the Super Bowl champion Saints and the Patriots, where he was an assistant coach under Bill Belichick before the Jets hired him in 2006. Going into last week’s game, New England had the best record in the NFL at 6-1 and the Browns beat them by 20 points.

Mangini, who was retained by new Browns president Mike Holmgren after he won his last four games in 2009 to finish 5-11, has Cleveland playing well despite starting rookie quarterback Colt McCoy.

I asked Mangini if he had any residual hard feelings that he wasn’t given the opportunity to finish the job with the Jets. They were 8-3 in 2008 after back-to-back road victories at New England and undefeated Tennessee, but then lost four of their last five with Brett Favre struggling with what was later revealed to be a torn biceps tendon in his right arm.

“I’ve sat across enough desks and told guys that they’re not going to be with the team anymore and that’s part of what we deal with,” Mangini said. “They gave me a tremendous opportunity. Mike and (Jets owner) Woody (Johnson) while I was there were incredibly supportive. So I appreciate that fact. I really am proud of what we built there and the type of people that we committed to and the positive things that we did that I think showed up last year.”

He says he is “excited” to see his former players.

“I’m excited about the group of guys that I am with now and the team I’m with now and the direction we’re headed in now,” he added.

Mangini said he expects a “lot of comedy,” this week between Jets coach Rex Ryan and his twin brother Rob, who is Cleveland’s defensive coordinator. “I’m sure Rex’ press conferences are going to be the high point of the week,” Mangini said.

As far as facing the Jets, he said, “The one thing that I’ve learned with Rex and Rob is to expect the unexpected. Rex does a tremendous job defensively disguising looks, the variations of blitzes that they bring. It’s really a lot to deal with. And then offensively, they continue to run the ball really well, they hit some big plays, Mike Westhoff is an outstanding special teams coach. He’s going to have something that is different for us than what he’s done before. In all three phases, its going to be a lot like what we’ve faced this season so far — another really talented team, well coached team that we are going to have to play well against and physical against in order to beat.”

-Gary Myers