http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/story/381865p-324257c.html New York Daily News Γ’β¬β Ty lays down law on coach By RICH CIMINI DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER Tuesday, January 10th, 2006 Eric Mangini's first job in the NFL consisted of handing out media notes in the press box and washing jockstraps. That was only 11 years ago, when he was a go-fer on Bill Belichick's staff in Cleveland. Mangini's stock has risen so dramatically that, in the coming days, the Patriots' rookie defensive coordinator could be offered the Jets' head-coaching job. Some might call it a gamble, hiring a 34-year-old coach. To cornerback Ty Law, it's a no-brainer. "It would be an injustice if the Jets don't hire Eric Mangini," Law told the Daily News last night. Law is a Mangini expert, having played five seasons under him in New England. They won three Super Bowls together. Law sees potential greatness in Mangini, calling him an excellent situational coach and a terrific motivator. When he looks at the other names on the Jets' list of candidates, he sees a bunch of recyclables. "I have a lot of respect for Jim Haslett, but he's had an opportunity to be a head coach," Law said. "Mike Tice had an opportunity, too. These guys aren't head coaches anymore for one reason or another. When you've got a chance to start fresh, why not start with a guy who's got Super Bowl championships behind him? "The other guys have coaching experience, but how many rings do they have?" Law continued. "If you've got all the tools and you've been part of championship teams, I think that should trump all questions about age. Plus, you've got a chance to take a valuable person away from the top dog. I'm quite sure that Eric knows more about Bill Belichick than anybody." Mangini, believed to be near or at the top of the Jets' list of candidates to replace Herm Edwards, is scheduled to interview with team officials Sunday near Foxboro, Mass. The Patriots, two wins from reaching their third straight Super Bowl, play Saturday night in Denver. Some industry sources believe it's Mangini's job to lose, but he could be faced with a dilemma: Loyalty versus friendship. Mangini is close friends with Jets assistant GM Mike Tannenbaum, who serves on the board of directors of Mangini's football camp/charitable foundation in Hartford. But Mangini's football "Godfather" is Belichick, the man who has nurtured him. The Jets-Patriots Border War could become a tug of war. "He's done a great job for me," Belichick said yesterday in Foxboro. "He's been an outstanding coach. I've been with him in three different organizations, and I have all the respect in the world for Eric." Belichick wants to see Mangini succeed one day as a head coach, but he might not necessarily want him in the division, especially with the Jets Γ’β¬β the team Belichick walked away from in 2000. Some believe Belichick will try to convince his protΓΒ©gΓΒ© to pass on the turmoil-ridden Jets and wait for a better opportunity. Maybe the Jets will make an offer he can't refuse. Is the Boy Wonder worth the millions? "If Jon Gruden and Steve Mariucci can do it (34 and 41, respectively, when they became head coaches), I don't see any reason why Eric couldn't," Browns coach Romeo Crennel, Mangini's predecessor as Pats' defensive coordinator, said by phone. "Eric is a smart, young guy and he worked his way up the hard way. He's seen Bill operate, and I think that will be an advantage if he gets the job." But there are questions, namely his age and lack of experience. Can he command respect from players the same age? "It's not awkward at all," linebacker Willie McGinest said. "He understands football. He's been in a lot of great systems. He's been with Bill. He's done his dirty work. He's done his time and he's doing a great job." .