Tennessee Titans to hire Houston Texans DC Mike Vrabel as head coach

January 21, 2018

The Tennessee Titans have agreed to hire Mike Vrabel as their next head coach.

Vrabel, 42, comes from the Houston Texans, where he was the defensive coordinator last season and the team’s linebacker coach the three previous years. The Texans struggled defensively this past season, especially following the injuries to J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, but Vrabel has been a rising head-coaching candidate for a few years.

Vrabel will be introduced on Tuesday.

The Titans parted ways with former head coach Mike Mularkey, who guided the team into the playoffs. Following the wild-card win over the Kansas City Chiefs, Titans controlling owner Amy Strunk Adams indicated that Mularkey would be the team’s head coach “going forward.”

That lasted a little more than a week. The Titans’ 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots doomed Mularkey, and the Titans’ job became the seventh head-coaching vacancy this offseason.

Titans GM Jon Robinson led the search and centered in on three candidates: Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and Vrabel. Robinson dipped into his Patriots roots — he served in New England from 2002 to 2013 — to handpick Vrabel.

Vrabel signed with the Patriots in 2001 and spent the next eight seasons there as one of the pillars of the team’s defense, winning three Super Bowl rings in his time in New England. He played for the Chiefs for two more seasons before turning to coaching. Vrabel, who attended Ohio State, spent three years on the Buckeyes’ coaching staff, two with head coach Urban Meyer.

Vrabel becomes the franchise’s 19th head coach. Jeff Fisher was the head coach for the team’s first 14 seasons in Tennessee after moving from Houston, where they were the Oilers. But since 2011, the Titans have had three different head coaches prior to Vrabel.

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