Mike Vrabel entered history as one of the better linebacker in NFL history, but he was also a New England Patriots tight end. The Tennessee Titans coach is the newest member of the Patriots Hall of Fame and now is the perfect time to recall some of his best career highlights.
How did the popular linebacker become tight end? In 2001, Vrabel was running routes for Drew Bledsoe before games. Bledsoe liked his potential and told OC Charlie Weiss that Vrabel could try himself as a tight end for the Patriots.
“I would mess around with Drew,” explained said in a video conference. “Then I think he might have said, ‘Hey, Charlie, this guy could probably actually do something.’ It never materialized (at first), and then maybe the next year, (Weis) might have said, ‘Give this a try, learn the plays.’ “
Mike Vrabel was efficient as Patriots tight end
Vrabel got his chance in Week 4 of the 2002 season. He stepped in as a tight end in the second quarter of the game against the San Diego Chargers. The Patriots lost the game, but Vrabel caught a 1-yard TD pass from Tom Brady. In the final nine NFL seasons, Vrabel caught 12 touchdown passes. Fans still remember the pass he caught in Super Bowl XXXVIII and Super Bowl XXXIX.
The Hall of Famer ranks tied for seventh all-time in Super Bowl TD catches. Vrabel’s receiving stat line is pretty impressive. He has 16 targets, 12 catches, 16 yards, and 12 touchdowns.
Willie McGinest watched Vrabel “beg” Patriots coaches in practice to use him as a tight end.“He was talking about how great his hands were, and he was such a good catcher,” McGinest told TennesseeTitans.com. He didn’t care about the blocking aspect of it when we wanted to run the ball, but when we had our specialty pass plays. … We didn’t know he was going to become the guy who had all these touchdowns … in the playoffs and Super Bowls, but it worked out. He was definitely reliable, and he made the big plays in the big games. So, we couldn’t mess with him after that. He proved his point.”