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Thread: Mangold and Ferguson’s ‘unbreakable’ bond goes beyond the field

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    Mangold and Ferguson’s ‘unbreakable’ bond goes beyond the field

    Decent read from Brian Costello.

    CORTLAND — Nick Mangold’s first memory of D’Brickashaw Ferguson came in Indianapolis during the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine.
    At night, the players go from hotel room to hotel room interviewing with the different teams. Mangold was dressed in a polo shirt and jeans.
    “Probably ripped,” he says.
    Then he spotted Ferguson, whom he had met briefly at the Senior Bowl, in a three-piece suit.
    “It’s a job interview,” Ferguson told Mangold.
    “I was like, ‘oh no,’ ” Mangold said.
    Fortunately for them, the Jets did not discriminate between formal wear and casual. They drafted both players in the first round that spring, forming a partnership that is entering its ninth season and a bond that both players say is unbreakable.
    The two players are as different as their wardrobe choices that day. Mangold is a jokester; Ferguson is quiet. Mangold looks unkempt with his bushy beard and, until recently, his long hair; Ferguson always looks ready for a photo shoot.
    But the pairing has worked. Every year the Jets enter the season with question marks, but Mangold and Ferguson are always the constants at center and left tackle, respectively. They have played in 126 regular-season games together, the most among every-down players since 2006, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Ferguson has never missed a snap. Mangold has missed two games.
    There are a few things you can count on with the Jets year in and year out. They’ll wear green and white. There will be some issue at quarterback. And Mangold and Ferguson will show up for work.

    Along the way, the two have become close friends. Ferguson was in Mangold’s wedding. They ate Christmas dinner together at Mangold’s house last year with their families. Ferguson’s parents cheered for Mangold’s sister, Holly, when she competed in the Olympics.
    “When you do those things for eight years, the relationship grows from teammates to hey, this guy is somebody I can really count on,” Ferguson said.
    The two sat down with The Post this week after a training camp practice and reflected on their time with the Jets and each other.
    The Jets took Ferguson with the fourth overall pick in 2006, hoping he would protect the quarterback for years to come. They selected Mangold 25 picks later, hoping he could replace Kevin Mawae.
    Mission accomplished. They have gone to a combined eight Pro Bowls and Mangold has been named All-Pro three times.
    “It’s amazing,” Mangold said. “It’s been a whirlwind since Brick and I met each other at the Senior Bowl way back in ’06. It seems like forever ago that we were there down in Mobile. It’s weird because it seems like forever ago, but then at the same time it’s gone so fast.”
    During their time with the Jets, they have seen three playoff runs, Brett Favre, Tim Tebow, the Buttfumble, two AFC title games, the firing of Eric Mangini and the hiring of Rex Ryan. They are the longest-tenured Jets and two of only four players left on the team from the Mangini years.
    They have gone from being the young guys in the locker room to the veteran leaders.
    “We sound like old men,” Ferguson said before going into his best old- guy voice. “ ‘I remember when I was a rookie. We used to have two-a-days. My pads would still be dripping.’ People just look at us like, ‘What are they talking about?’ You kind of find like you’re the old guy in the barber shop talking about how the good, old days used to be.”
    They started their first 82 games together, making them the first two players who entered the league together to start their team’s first 75 regular-season games on the same offensive line since 1970.
    The streak was snapped in 2011, when Mangold missed two games because of a high-ankle sprain. He calls it one of his greatest disappointments and remembers an empty feeling as he watched his teammates leave for a trip to Oakland while he stayed behind.
    “It was so disappointing, not just because I didn’t get to play and I didn’t get to help the team, but in the back of my mind I knew that Brick and I had been through so much together,” Mangold said. “I felt like I was letting him down by not being out there personally.”
    The Jets lost both games Mangold missed, suffering massive communication problems along the offensive line .
    “When you have a guy like Nick that is such a high-level, high-caliber player, All-Pro center,” Ferguson said, “you can tell the difference when you have the guy that is still an NFL-caliber player but doesn’t have that elite status that Nick brings to the table. Those games, I don’t know if it was by coincidence, happened to not be our very best games. It just shows the value of the center is really key.”
    Both speak with great admiration for the other. Mangold said he thinks Ferguson’s toughness is underappreciated. Mangold said Ferguson’s preparation is something to behold.
    “[The thing] I respect most about his game how he’s a technician,” Mangold said. “The way he focuses in on the guy he’s going against and how he needs to defeat him and the time and preparation it takes. You see him out on the field and you can almost see him visualizing this guy that he’s going against. The preparation he puts in to going out there on Sunday and protecting the blind side and being that guy is amazing.”
    Ferguson is amazed at Mangold’s ability to process the game. Mangold can come to the line, see the defense and call the protection for the line.
    “He understands [defenses], but it’s not just that he understands that, it’s a split-second reaction,” Ferguson said. “He comes to the line, makes the Mike point and we’re going to turn the protection a certain way because I’ve seen this and I know how these guys will react. I know the formation. A lot of his thinking is like a computer where you might be pressing a button, but so many things have happened and all this code has already been written and it happens instantaneously.”

    The two said going to back-to-back AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010 are their best memories as Jets and their worst because of the outcome. Both are now 30 years old and they know the window is closing, but they still dream of bringing a Super Bowl win to the Jets.
    “For me it drives everything that I do,” Mangold said. “I’m at the point in my career where I’m chasing that ring. You look at it and you get so many chances. Early in your career you think you have a gazillion of them. As you move along, you see guys retire around your age and you realize these guys are done and it could happen to me at any point. It’s been my driving force. I want to get back there and have an opportunity to win one, especially for this team and this organization.”
    Neither player is thinking about retirement yet. They know when they do, though, they will remain close.
    “I think we’ll always have a relationship,” Ferguson said. “I think when you sacrifice so much for the game, you’ll always be connected to the people you sacrifice with. … When you’ve been through the times we’ve been through, grinding out as rookies or playing big games or coming over and supporting one another’s family I think when you have all those experiences you’ll always be connected. I don’t think because we’re not working in the same area that connection will be severed.”
    Mangold smiled: “Yep, you’re stuck with me, Brick.”

  2. #2
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    I read this article earlier....it's a great piece thanks for posting!

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    Two of our most underappreciated, inaccurately criticized, players.

    A big part of any good this O has had in the last bunch of years can be traced back o the work of these two men.

    You don't consistently have a high-ranked Running attack with the castoffs and nobodies we've had otherwise.

    And it's a tough job defending bad QB's who hold the ball way too long...a la Sanchez.

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    Mangini's first draft wasn't sexy but it was one of the best we ever had. Taking 2 OL in the first round probably raised some eyebrows but it provided us with a foundation. Brick struggled a lot in the beginning but turned into a good LT. Between Mangold and Mawae we have had some pretty good Center play the past 16 years.

    FWIW I think Brick has more left than Mangold does. Hope they both can retire Jets but I think Mangold might be a cap casualty after this season. Maybe they re-work his deal. http://overthecap.com/cap.php?Name=N...on=C&Team=Jets

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    An absolute homerun draft that year. Essentially fixing a terrible oline with one 1st round was impressive. This is the epitome of drafting guys in important positions, plugging them in day one and then not worrying about it for the next 10 years.

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    It's going to really suck losing those guys when the time comes. I really hope we win a SB while these two are still in their prime. Idzik has his work ahead of him in replacing Brick and Mangold when they leave the Jets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    Two of our most underappreciated, inaccurately criticized, players.

    A big part of any good this O has had in the last bunch of years can be traced back o the work of these two men.

    You don't consistently have a high-ranked Running attack with the castoffs and nobodies we've had otherwise.

    And it's a tough job defending bad QB's who hold the ball way too long...a la Sanchez.
    Who criticizes Mangold around here?

    I have seen Brick gets criticized, and it's unwarranted....

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlito1171 View Post
    Who criticizes Mangold around here?

    I have seen Brick gets criticized, and it's unwarranted....
    Mangold is consistently at the top of the "he's falling off/he sucks now" and "lets trade him now" talk here at JI.

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    I think I'm guilty of taking them for granted. I think the world of both of them and know I can count on them every season so my attention drifts away towards positions that need attention. We will miss them when they're gone. True Jets.
    Nice to see that they are good friends.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    Mangold is consistently at the top of the "he's falling off/he sucks now" and "lets trade him now" talk here at JI.
    LOL trade Mangold?

    Did these people see what happened last time Mangold missed a start? No thanks!

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