By Karen Christensen //@ksc47
After the Tennessee Titans lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC divisional game, former head coach Mike Mularkey was set to negotiate a new contract with the Tennessee Titans on January 15th. The Titans had released a statement the previous week after the win against the Kansas City Chiefs during the Wild Card round that the team was sticking with Mularkey and that he would continue to be the head coach. What happened during the negotiations to extend and renew the contract with Mularkey?
The controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk and general manager Jon Robinson released a statement that the organization and the former head coach could not come to an agreement over the direction that the team should be taking. The team had offensive problems throughout the 2017 season and quarterback Marcus Mariota was not progressing. Mike Mularkey had become the head coach in January of 2016 and the team made it to the playoffs with a record of 9-7 for 2017 but did not capture first place in the AFC division.
Tennessee had interviewed three men for the open coaching position: Steve Wilks, assistant head coach and defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers; Matt LaFleur, offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams; and Mike Vrabel, defensive coordinator of the Houston Texans. The Titans announced that they hired Mike Vrabel on Saturday, January 20.
Why the quick hire? There are many head coaching jobs open right now. The Titans most likely wanted to make sure they sealed the deal with the coach that they wanted and did not want Vrabel to go to another team.
Mike Vrabel played in the NFL for 14 years as a linebacker and on special teams. He was first drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1997 and he went on to play for the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. Vrabel is from Akron, Ohio and earned a degree in exercise science from Ohio State. He was also the defensive line coach for Ohio State from 2012-2013. Vrabel is a former teammate of Titans legendary running back, Eddie George.
New head coach Vrabel released this statement per TitansOnline: “This is an incredible opportunity and one I have been preparing for my entire football life,” said Vrabel. “I want to thank Amy, Jon and the entire Titans organization for putting their faith in me. I am excited to get to work and that work starts now. We want to build a culture around winning, competitiveness and toughness. Everything we do is going to be geared towards winning and being physical. We want to prepare our players so they know what to do, which will allow them to play fast and aggressive.”
The Tennessee Titans will hold a press conference on Monday, January 22 at St. Thomas Sportspark to introduce the new head coach.
With comments from Vrabel, controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, and GM Jon Robinson.
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) January 20, 2018
Talk Titans with Karen on Twitter @ksc47