Vrabel with the Patriots in 2008
|Date of birth:||August 14, 1975|
|Place of birth:||Akron, Ohio|
|Height:||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight:||261 lb (118 kg)|
|High school:||Walsh Jesuit High School
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
|NFL draft:||1997 / Round: 3 / Pick: 91|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Michael George Vrabel (//; born August 14, 1975) is a former American football linebacker and current linebackers coach for the Houston Texans in the National Football League. He played college football at Ohio State University, where he earned consensus All-American honors. He was chosen by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft. He also played professionally for the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. After spending three years coaching linebackers and defensive linemen at Ohio State, Vrabel joined the Texans in January 2014 as linebackers coach.
Vrabel accepted an athletic scholarship to attend Ohio State University, where he played defensive end 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. 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.
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.
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
Vrabel played in every game his first season in New England (2001-02), starting 12.
Vrabel exemplified the versatility sought by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. In addition to his work as a linebacker, Vrabel occasionally came in as eligible receiver on offense, lining up as a tight end. 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 Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme.
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, 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.
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
On February 27, 2009, the Patriots traded Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs for what was originally announced as an undisclosed draft pick. The following day it was revealed that Patriots traded both Vrabel and Matt Cassel in exchange for the Chiefs' second round pick, the 34th overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft.
|Year||Team||Games||Combined Tackles||Tackles||Assisted Tackles||Sacks||Forced Fumbles||Fumble Recoveries||Fumble Return Yards||Interceptions||Interception Return Yards||Yards per Interception Return||Longest Interception Return||Interceptions Returned for Touchdown||Passes Defended|
Vrabel retired on July 10, 2011 to become the linebackers coach at Ohio State. 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.
On January 10, 2014, Vrabel was hired by the Houston Texans as a linebackers coach. In January 2016 news outlets reported that the San Francisco 49ers offered Vrabel their defensive coordinator job; Vrabel declined the offer and remained in Houston.
Vrabel and his wife Jennifer have two sons, Tyler and Carter. Vrabel founded the "Mike's Second and Seven Foundation" with his former Ohio State teammates Ryan Miller and Luke Fickell to promote literacy in the Ohio area.
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. Vrabel was released after posting $600 bond.
- "Ohio State football: Mike Vrabel retires from Kansas City Chiefs to take job as Buckeyes' linebacker coach". Associated Press. July 11, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
- For Ohio State's John Simon, every week is a big game
- Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1997 National Football League Draft. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- Walker, Monique (2007-10-29). "For Vrabel, both sides now". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
- Gasper, Christopher L. (2009-02-27). "Vrabel trade confirmed". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- King, Peter (2009-02-28). "Chiefs complete trade for Cassel". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- "Mike Vrabel Stats". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "Mike Vrabel to retire from NFL and join Ohio State coaching staff". USAToday.com. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2011-07-10.
- Bennett, Brian. "Meyer, Belichick see strengths in Vrabel". College Football Nation Blog. espn.go.com. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- Bennett, Brian. "Mike Vrabel to coach Texans' LBs". ESPN NFL Blog. espn.go.com. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Grant Cohn: Why Mike Vrabel said no to 49ers’ D-coordinator job". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- "Vrabel returns to Ohio State as coach". NCAA.com. July 11, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
- "ref". Patriots.com. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- Thorman, Joel (Apr 3, 2011). "Former Buckeye Mike Vrabel arrested for theft". The Lantern. Retrieved October 13, 2015.