As initially reported last Thursday by John Taylor of College Football Talk, free agent linebacker Mike Vrabel has retired from the National Football League and accepted a position as linebackers coach at Ohio State University, his alma mater.
Vrabel's agent, Neil Cornrich, released the following statement on Monday morning:
"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.
"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 and Fickell were roommates and teammates at Ohio State.
A third-round pick (91st overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1997, Vrabel spent four seasons in a reserve role before signing with the New England Patriots in 2001. Vrabel recorded 48 of his 57 career quarterback sacks during his eight seasons with the Patriots, where he was a leader on a team that won three Super Bowls in four seasons. Vrabel was named to the Patriots' 50th Anniversary Team in 2009.
Vrabel also caught ten touchdown passes during the regular season, adding two more touchdown receptions in Super Bowl wins over the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles, tying him with receivers Hines Ward, Larry Fitzgerald, and Michael Irvin for Super Bowl touchdown receptions.
Traded to the Kansas City Chiefs as part of the Matt Cassel trade in 2009, Vrabel posted 100 tackles with two quarterback sacks in 30 games.
Set to turn 36-years-old next month, Vrabel was scheduled to be a free agent and had attached his name to the Brady v NFL antitrust lawsuit in March. In recent months, Vrabel had been an active participant in mediated negotiation sessions with the league.