The feud between Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Browns head coach Eric Mangini might not be dead after all.
The Browns signed quarterback Brett Ratliff to their active roster Monday, just four days after the Patriots added Ratliff to their practice squad. NFL rules permit teams to sign any practice-squad player at any time, as if they were free agents.
Anyway, this signing happened a week and a half after the Patriots signed running back Thomas Clayton from the Browns' practice squad — a move used to add depth to the position after Fred Taylor went down with an injury.
Retaliatory moves aren’t uncommon throughout the league, and Mangini probably figured the Patriots hoped to develop Ratliff as an emergency quarterback behind Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer. New England has only had two quarterbacks since releasing rookie Zac Robinson as part of their major roster cuts Sept. 4.
Of course, the Browns have endured some injury issues to quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, so there was a definite need at the position. Plus, Ratliff spent 2009 with the Browns, so he has an understanding of the system.
Belichick and Mangini have had issues since the understudy left Belichick's staff in 2006 to coach the Jets, and then there was that whole Spygate thing.
Was Mangini retaliating for the Clayton signing with an incidental move of his own, or was he simply trying to add depth to a position of need?