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Eric Mangini regrets turning in the Patriots over Spygate

BelichickMangini992007AP

Eric Mangini, who as a Patriots assistant knew about the practice of taping opposing teams’ signals, and who informed the league office of the practice when he was the Jets’ head coach, said today that he regrets the way Spygate has continued to overshadow the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick.

After Ravens coach John Harbaugh called the Patriots’ titles tainted today, then said he regretted that comment, Mangini weighed in on ESPN’s NFL Live and said he regrets everything about Spygate. Mangini said that if he had it to do all over again, he never would have informed NFL Security that the Patriots were taping the Jets’ signals during a game on September 10, 2007.

“If there is a decision I could take back it’s easily that decision,” Mangini said. “Never in a million years would I have wanted it to go this way. It’s disappointing whenever it comes up.”

Mangini, who was an assistant on the Patriots’ three Super Bowl-winning teams, says he has never believed any of the Patriots’ titles were tainted, and he’s surprised that anyone would suggest they are.

“It’s regret, it’s disappointment, it’s all of those things,” Mangini said of the way he views Spygate now. “Because I know what it took to win those Super Bowls and I have so much respect for the people that were involved there. I’m disappointed that this is what it’s translated into.”

One reason for Mangini’s disappointment may be that he’s now viewed in coaching circles as an assistant whom a head coach would have trouble trusting. If Mangini wants to get back on an NFL staff, he’d need that head coach to believe he’d be more loyal than he was to Belichick. But Mangini said today that he wasn’t trying to hurt Belichick. All he really wanted was to beat the Patriots that day and keep them from getting any kind of an advantage.

“Never in a million years did I expect it to play out like this,” Mangini said. “This is one of those situations where I didn’t want them to do the things they were doing. I didn’t think it was any kind of significant advantage, but I wasn’t going to give them the convenience of doing it in our stadium, and I wanted to shut it down. But there was no intent to get the league involved. There was no intent to have the landslide that it has become.”

Mangini was seated alongside former Patriot Tedy Bruschi, who criticized Harbaugh today after Harbaugh made his comments about the Patriots’ “stained” titles. Bruschi said he traded voicemails with Harbaugh and has no hard feelings, and Mangini said he feels badly for his own role in forcing Bruschi into conversations like this one.

“To have guys like Tedy have to defend the championships that we earned in New England, and to have anything taken away from the Kraft family, from coach Belichick, and the players and coaches that have meant so much to me, never in a million years did I think it was going to translate into what it was going to translate into,” Mangini said. “And it doesn’t tarnish what we achieved there. It doesn’t tarnish what they achieved after the fact. I think when you look at the history of success that they had after that incident, it’s pretty obvious that it didn’t play any type of significant role in the victories we had or the success that we had.”

Some members of that 2007 Patriots team may have some ill will toward Mangini, but Bruschi doesn’t. And Mangini said he feels badly that he put Bruschi in a bad position by turning in the Patriots almost five years ago.

“That’s what’s so disappointing to me,” Mangini said. “The fact that Tedy has to sit here and talk about that because of a decision that I made, it’s disappointing.”