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Vrabel leaving Chiefs to take job with Ohio State

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Posted July 11, 2011 @ 8:32 a.m. ET
By PFW staff

Updated July 11, 9:32 a.m. ET

LB Mike Vrabel, one of the plaintiffs in the Brady et al v. the NFL antitrust lawsuit, officially retired on Monday after accepting a coaching position at Ohio State.

Vrabel released a three-paragraph statement about his decision on Monday. "After 14 years in the National Football League, I have decided to retire and accept the position of Linebackers Coach at The Ohio State University," Vrabel wrote.

"I am extremely appreciative of the teammates, coaches, and great fans who surrounded me during my NFL career, and am honored to have been a part of three tremendous organizations in the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and Kansas City Chiefs. I am especially grateful to Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli, who not only gave me the opportunity to play for a team that won three Super Bowl championships and an NFL record 21 games in a row, but also taught me invaluable lessons on creating the ultimate team approach.

"I am very excited to become a part of Luke Fickell's staff at Ohio State. I have great faith and trust in Luke leading the Buckeye football team as he represents all the core values integral for a program's success, and I am looking forward to working with our student-athletes as I begin the next phase of my career."

Vrabel, a third-round pick by the Steelers in 1997, has spent 14 seasons in the NFL, winning three Super Bowls with the Patriots from 2001-2008. As a member of the Chiefs the past two seasons, he started 30 games, recording two sacks and three forced fumbles.

The one-time Pro Bowler also has 10 career touchdown catches. He was born in Akron and played at Ohio State.

"It was an honor and a privilege to be on the same team with Mike for 10 seasons," Chiefs GM Scott Pioli said in a statement released by the team. "Mike was a great college player that came into the NFL as a third-round pick and role player. Eventually, he made himself a starter and a champion. It's no coincidence that Mike won championships everywhere he played — from his time at Ohio State to his role in division titles on three NFL teams.

"His genuine love for the game, his preparation, his work ethic, leadership and dependability are qualities you want from every player. He is a champion in every sense of the word and I'm confident all of these qualities will make him a great coach. I cannot overstate my respect for him as a person and a football player. If there were a Hall of Champions, Mike Vrabel would be a first-ballot selection."

The way we see it

In his prime with the Patriots, Vrabel was one of the top outside linebackers in the NFL. He was a Pro Bowler in 2007, when he recorded 12½ sacks, and he finished with 57 sacks for his career. He also had 12 career receptions, including Super Bowls, and all 12 were touchdown catches. 

During his final few seasons with the Chiefs, Vrabel was essentially a coach on the field for Kansas City. His transition off the field and into the meeting room should be an easy one, as he was often considered one of the smartest players in the league at his position.

For the Chiefs, this move only makes their need for another linebacker even greater when free agency begins. They were already in the market for an inside linebacker, but they might add an outside ’backer as well to add some of the depth lost with Vrabel's departure. 

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