The Tennessee Titans hired Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel as their new coach in a fast search that wrapped up after three interviews and just five days after firing Mike Mularkey.
The Titans announced Saturday they had agreed to terms with Vrabel. A news conference was scheduled for Monday.
Vrabel was the first person Tennessee interviewed after firing Mularkey on Monday. Mularkey, who also coached Buffalo and Jacksonville, went 21-22 and led the franchise to its first playoff victory in 14 years . This will be Vrabel’s first head coaching job after 18 years in the NFL — 14 as a player and four as a coach.
Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement it was easy to see Vrabel’s commanding presence and relationship with general manager Jon Robinson. The GM got his start in the NFL as a scout with the New England Patriots, where Vrabel won three Super Bowls as a linebacker.
“Mike has a commanding presence and a deep understanding for how he will attack this head coaching opportunity,” Strunk said.
“Throughout his football career, he has played for, been mentored by and coached with successful teams and organizations. He knows what it takes to reach that level of sustained success — he has seen it firsthand. We have a chance to build on the solid foundation that we established over the past couple of years and I believe Mike is the right person to continue that progress.”
The Titans became the seventh NFL team to change coaches since the start of the season, and now they are the third to hire their replacement, joining Oakland and Chicago. The Indianapolis Colts are closing in on Josh McDaniels but can’t hire him until the Patriots’ season ends. Arizona , Detroit and New York Giants have yet to hire new coaches.
Tennessee also interviewed Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks — who satisfied the Rooney rule requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate — and Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.
In a statement, Vrabel thanked Strunk, Robinson and the Titans for putting their faith in him.
“We want to build a culture around winning, competitiveness and toughness,” Vrabel said. “Everything we do is going to be geared toward 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.”
Todd Haley interviewing with Browns for offensive coordinator job
The Cleveland Browns have discussed their offensive coordinator position with former Pittsburgh play-caller Todd Haley, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
Haley has interviewed with Browns coach Hue Jackson, according to the person who spoke Sunday to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team is not confirming any interviews. Haley spent six years with the Steelers before he was fired last week.
Jackson has handled offensive coordinator duties the past two seasons. But after going 0-16, Jackson said he was open to hiring a coordinator. He also has met with Houston quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan and fired New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo about the job.
Haley was dismissed after the Steelers lost 45-42 to Jacksonville in the playoffs.
ESPN first reported the Browns’ interest in Haley.
Haley’s familiarity with the AFC North and his knowledge of the Steelers would be a major asset for the Browns.
Watt, Olsen and Watson named finalists for Walter Payton Man of the Year award
J.J. Watt, Greg Olsen and Benjamin Watson are finalists for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
The recipient of the award that recognizes a player’s contribution in his community and to society in general will be revealed on Feb. 3 at NFL Honors, when The Associated Press announces its individual NFL awards.
Houston defensive end Watt, in his seventh NFL season and a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, had the goal of raising $200,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief in Houston.
His fundraising did a whole lot more, bringing in an incredible $37 million in 19 days. Watt has dedicated himself to finding organizations that will apply the funds in a way he has promised both donors and victims of the storm.