NFL Rumors: Mike Vrabel's shocking Titans exit had everything to do with Patriots

Mike Vrabel's exit from the Tennessee Titans was partially related to the New England Patriots.
Mike Vrabel, Amy Adams Strunk, Tennessee Titans
Mike Vrabel, Amy Adams Strunk, Tennessee Titans / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The Tennessee Titans fired Mike Vrabel on Tuesday. He went 54-45 across six regular seasons with the Titans. He made the playoffs thrice, including an appearance in the 2019-20 AFC Championship Game. Now, he will search for his next team.

Vrabel is widely respected in NFL circles and he is expected to pick up a new gig shortly. All signs point toward the New England Patriots as a possible landing spot. Vrabel spent eight years with New England during his playing days, winning three Super Bowls. He was enshrined in the Patriots' Hall of Fame last season.

In fact, Vrabel's connection to New England is so strong that it may have contributed to Tennessee's decision to fire him, according to Dianna Russini and Joe Rexrode of The Athletic.

Vrabel traveled to Foxboro on the Titans' buy week to accept the Hall of Fame honor from New England. His speech "raised eyebrows" in the Tennessee organization.

"I don’t want you to take this organization for granted. I’ve been a lot of places, this is a special place with great leadership, great fans, great direction, and great coaching. Enjoy it. It’s not like this everywhere."

To read those comments as a slight against the Titans is a bit silly in my opinion, but it clearly registered with Tennessee's upper management. Per The Athletic, the event "did not sit well with" Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk.

Mike Vrabel's Patriots praise contributed to Titans exit

It's abundantly clear that tensions between Vrabel and Titans management reached an untenable point last season — whether either side would willingly admit it or not. On top of the Patriots snafu, The Athletic reports disagreements between Vrabel and Strunk on the hiring of GM Ran Carthon, as well as Tennessee's updated approach to analytics.

Vrabel told Strunk he believed Carthon should be hired as assistant GM instead, a recommendation that wounded Strunk. She held it against him. Their constant disagreements, combined with Vrabel's unwillingness to publicly address rumors surrounding the Patriots, led to Strunk's unilateral decision to can her head coach.

Only time will tell if Strunk's decision was the correct one. Vrabel is clearly competent, but his Titans tenure ended with consecutive losing seasons. Tennessee will now move into a new era, most likely without Ryan Tannehill or Derrick Henry. The next head coach will be tasked with developing rookie QB Will Levis and getting Tennessee back to the postseason.

The Titans are expected to chat with Cincinnati Bengals O.C. Brian Callahan on Friday. That is the first of what should be several interviews as Tennessee looks to nail down the best candidate to fill Vrabel's massive shoes. Meanwhile, don't be shocked if Tennessee sees Vrabel on the opposing sideline next season in opposing colors. Quite possibly Patriots colors.

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