For many NFL players, their teammates and coaches are like a second family.
You see, the 28-year-old Mangold, a perennial All-Pro player likely headed to the Hall of Fame someday, is not the only world-class athlete in his family.
Holley Mangold, Nick’s 22-year-old sister, is headed to London for the 2012 Olympic Games, where she will compete for a medal in weightlifting, a sport she only recently started training for a few years ago.
The younger Mangold is 5’9, 350 lbs, stronger than her famous football player brother. But even though Jets coach Rex Ryan gave Nick permission to go to London to watch Holley compete, he respectfully declined the offer.
“God bless Rex because he did offer it to me, but I don’t think I can leave my guys in the middle of training camp,” Mangold said. “But we’ll figure out a way to watch, and I’m real excited and real proud for her.”
“Somehow, some way, I’ll watch it,” he said. “But I don’t know if I can do the jump over the pond in the middle of training camp.”
Ryan, however, has been steadfast on his opinion that family comes first. He was surprised to hear about Mangold’s decision and is still trying to convince him to take time off to see his sister’s Olympic debut.
“I don’t think he realized this is an amazing thing, it really is,” Ryan said. “How many people are good enough to go to the Olympics and compete against the world’s best, and represent our country? I think it’s an incredible opportunity for her and him as well.”
Ryan is not giving up on trying to convince his star center that missing a few days of training camp is nothing compared to supporting his sister in London.
“I just think Nick is a smart guy,” he said. “He would understand our offense, all of that kind of stuff.”
“[It’s a] once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see your sister do something that is absolutely incredible, competing against the world’s best in a weightlifting competition.”
The 2012 London Olympics will be held from July 27 to August 12, so there’s still plenty of time for him to change his mind.
Only Nick can decide what the right decision is for him, and as much as I’m sure he’d love to see Holley compete for an Olympic medal, he also knows he’s got a new playbook to learn.
His dedication to his team is pretty admirable. He’s willing to put his football family ahead of his blood family, and that’s an incredible commitment, if that’s what he ends up deciding to do.
Of course, if Holley wins the gold, she’ll have bragging rights over her brother, who has yet to win his first Super Bowl ring. Perhaps that’s why Nick is so focused on the task at hand.