NEIL CORNRICH & NC SPORTS: MANAGING THE CAREERS OF PROFESSIONALS IN THE SPORTS INDUSTRY

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Looking for the Next Stephen Neal



Still Invitation Only, but Jets Widen Door for Camp
By KAREN CROUSE

May 13, 2007

Jets Coach Eric Mangini has a soft spot for these rock-hard wrestlers, and not only because he dabbled in the sport in high school. He watched Steve Neal, a world-class wrestler, become a productive guard for the New England Patriots. Mangini also was among the first to encourage Ben Graham, the Jets’ punter, to make the switch from Australian Rules Football to the N.F.L.

Mangini is a big believer that all successful athletes share certain traits that transcend their sports-specific skill sets. In all, 51 players, including the four players in this year’s draft class, are participating in the three-day camp.

“Whether it be wrestlers, basketball players, track athletes, Australian Rules football players, whoever it is,” Mangini said, “if they have a good work ethic, intelligence, the things that we look for, then it’s our job to teach them and their job to take advantage of the opportunity.”

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