Mike Vrabel

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Mike Vrabel
Mike Vrabel.jpg
Vrabel in 2008
No. 50, 56, 92, 96
Outside Linebacker/Tight End/Coach
Personal information
Date of birth: (1975-08-14) August 14, 1975 (age 38)
Place of birth: Akron, Ohio
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Weight: 261 lb (118 kg)
Career information
High school: Walsh Jesuit High School
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
College: Ohio State
NFL Draft: 1997 / Round: 3 / Pick: 91
Debuted in 1997 for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Last played in 2010 for the Kansas City Chiefs
Career history
 As player:
 As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Tackles 704
Quarterback sacks 57.0
Interceptions 11
Forced fumbles 17
Receptions 10
Touchdown receptions 10
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com

Michael George Vrabel (/ˈvrbəl/; born August 14, 1975) is a former American college and professional football player and current assistant coach. Vrabel played at the linebacker position in the National Football League (NFL) for fourteen seasons, and at the defensive end position in college for the Ohio State Buckeyes, where he earned All-American honors. He has played professionally for the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and the Kansas City Chiefs. A versatile player in the NFL, Vrabel regularly lined up at the tight end position as well as starting as a linebacker. After spending three years coaching linebackers and defensive linemen at Ohio State, Vrabel joined the Houston Texans in January 2014 as linebackers coach.

Early years[edit]

Vrabel was born in Akron, Ohio. He attended Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and played for the Walsh Jesuit Warriors high school football team.

College career[edit]

Vrabel accepted an athletic scholarship to attend Ohio State University, where he played defensive end for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team from 1993 to 1996. He compiled twelve quarterback sacks as a sophomore, thirteen as a junior, and forty-eight tackles and nine sacks as a senior.[1] As a senior in 1996, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. Vrabel finished his career at Ohio State by being named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in both 1995 and 1996, becoming only the second player to ever win the award twice (Wendell Bryant of Wisconsin being the other). He totaled thirty-six sacks and sixty-six tackles for a loss.[2]

He was named to the Ohio State Football All-Century Team in 2000, and in 2012 was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame.[3]

Due to Vrabel having played at Ohio State, and former Patriots teammate Tom Brady having played for the Buckeyes' arch-rival, Michigan, the two players make an annual wager over the outcome of the yearly meeting between the two schools.

Professional career[edit]

Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

Vrabel was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round (91st overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft.[4]

He spent the first four seasons of his career in Pittsburgh. His most notable play as a Steeler came in his rookie season, when he sacked Drew Bledsoe in the 1997-98 AFC Divisional Playoffs to clinch a 7-6 win for the Steelers.

In '98 he had 12 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 0 fr, 0 int, 0 yds 0 tds. In '99 he had 9 tackles, 2 sacks,0 fr, 0 int, 0 yds, 0 tds. in '00 he had 15 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fr, 0 int, 0 yds, 0 tds.

New England Patriots[edit]

Vrabel played in every game his first season in New England, starting 12.

Vrabel exemplified the versatility sought by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick: in addition to his work as a linebacker, Vrabel frequently checked in as a tight end in short-yardage situations, which made him an eligible receiver. Belichick took advantage of this in Super Bowl XXXVIII: in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Vrabel, making Vrabel the first defensive player to score a Super Bowl touchdown on offense since William "Refrigerator" Perry did so for the Chicago Bears against the Patriots in Super Bowl XX in 1986. Vrabel was one of the defensive stars in that game as well; he had two sacks (one forcing a fumble) of Carolina's Jake Delhomme, and was a contender for the Super Bowl MVP award that went to Brady.

Despite Brady's penchant for throwing to Vrabel in such situations, teams were often unable to cover Vrabel properly. In Super Bowl XXXIX, Vrabel caught a 2-yard touchdown pass despite being held by Philadelphia's Jevon Kearse; that catch is pictured on the cover of the 2005 NFL Record and Fact Book. The reception made him one of 17 players to catch two or more touchdown passes in Super Bowls.

Vrabel finished with twelve career receptions, all for 1- or 2-yard touchdowns (one in 2002, two in 2004, three in 2005, and two in 2007 in the regular season, and one each in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX) with the Patriots and one in 2009 and 2010 with the Chiefs (thrown by former Patriot Matt Cassel). According to the website Cold Hard Football Facts, no other player in NFL history has as good a record of converting receptions to touchdowns. His versatility was good enough for NFL Network to rank him #7 on their Top 10 episode of the Greatest Versatile Players.

In week 8 of the 2007 season, Mike Vrabel forced 3 fumbles, had 3 sacks, recovered an onside kick, and scored an offensive touchdown against the Washington Redskins, for which he was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. In December 2007 he was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time, as a starter; in January 2008 he was named to the NFL All-Pro team.

On December 26, 2005, on the final Monday Night Football game on ABC, Vrabel became, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the first player—since the official recording of sacks began in 1982—to have two touchdown catches and a sack in the same game.[5]

Vrabel visiting an air force base in Hawaii

Though right outside linebacker had been Vrabel's primary position in the Patriots' 3-4 scheme in his first four seasons with New England, in 2005 Vrabel moved to inside linebacker, because of the limited effectiveness of inside backers Monty Beisel and Chad Brown, although he had never before played inside in the NFL. By the time Tedy Bruschi had returned from injury, he and Vrabel were the two men starting inside. Rosevelt Colvin successfully filled Vrabel's old spot, and many cite the change in positions as a major contributor to the Patriots' rebound in the second half of the season. Vrabel moved inside again late in the 2006 season, after Junior Seau broke his arm.

Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

On February 27, 2009, the Patriots traded Vrabel, who was in the last year of his contract, to the Kansas City Chiefs for an undisclosed draft pick.[6] The following day it was revealed that Patriots traded both Vrabel and Matt Cassel in exchange for the Chiefs' second-round pick (#34 overall) in the 2009 NFL Draft.[7] Mike Vrabel retired from football in early July 2011 to join the Ohio State Buckeyes coaching staff.

Coaching career[edit]

Ohio State[edit]

Vrabel retired from professional football after 14 seasons on July 10, 2011. He has joined his alma mater of Ohio State as linebackers coach.[8] On December 21, 2011 new Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer decided to keep Vrabel on as part of his coaching staff as defensive line coach.[9]

Houston Texans[edit]

In January of 2014, after spending three years as a Buckeyes assistant, Vrabel left Ohio State to become the linebackers coach for the Houston Texans.[10]


Vrabel is married to his wife Jen, and they have two sons, Tyler and Carter.[11] Vrabel founded the "Mike's Second and Seven Foundation" with Ohio State teammates Ryan Miller and Luke Fickell to promote literacy in the Ohio area.[11] He and his wife have also donated to several charities.[11]

In March 2011, Vrabel was arrested and charged with a Class D felony for theft at an Indiana casino. According to reports from Kansas City television station KMBC and ProFootballTalk.com, the incident involved eight bottles of beer at a deli[12] in the Belterra Casino. Vrabel was released after posting $600 bond.[11]

Vrabel is an only child.


  1. ^ http://archive.patriots.com/team/index.cfm?ac=playerbio&bio=10110
  2. ^ http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/vrabel_mike00.html
  3. ^ For Ohio State's John Simon, every week is a big game
  4. ^ Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1997 National Football League Draft. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  5. ^ Walker, Monique (2007-10-29). "For Vrabel, both sides now". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-07-12. 
  6. ^ Gasper, Christopher L. (2009-02-27). "Vrabel trade confirmed". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  7. ^ King, Peter (2009-02-28). "Chiefs complete trade for Cassel". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  8. ^ "Mike Vrabel to retire from NFL and join Ohio State coaching staff". USAToday.com. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2011-07-10. 
  9. ^ Bennett, Brian. "Meyer, Belichick see strengths in Vrabel". College Football Nation Blog. espn.go.com. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Bennett, Brian. "Mike Vrabel to coach Texans' LBs". ESPN NFL Blog. espn.go.com. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d "ref". Patriots.com. Retrieved 2010-10-19. 
  12. ^ Thorman, Joel (Apr 5, 2011). "Mike Vrabel, Chiefs Respond To Arrest". SB*Nation Kansas City. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 

External links[edit]