When the Patriots announced they were parting ways with Bill Belichick last month, fans quickly jumped into fantasy mode about who they would love to see be the team's new head coach. Even before the news broke, many decided the rightful heir was former player and current Titans' coach Mike Vrabel, but there was a snag in the plan because he was still under contract at the time.
There were hypothetical trades discussed, and reports suggested Robert Kraft was dead set on hiring the ex-linebacker, who was enshrined into the Patriots Hall of Fame during the 2023 season. So when Tennessee announced they had fired Vrabel, the possibility of a New England reunion wasn't so far-fetched.
But shortly after his exit, it was announced that Jerod Mayo would be the one to succeed Belichick, with Kraft forgoing the interviewing process to promote the linebackers coach right away. Some were disappointed to learn that Vrabel wasn't even given an interview, but knowing another former player would be seen on the sideline was mostly exciting enough to overlook it.
Because they were among the first teams to fill their head coach vacancy, Vrabel immediately became the hottest free agent of coaches along with Belichick. It was assumed both would find new jobs quickly, but that wasn't how their futures panned out.
Other than the countless rumors regarding why teams decided to pass on hiring Belichick, not much has been said about the former Titans coach until now. The Athletic's Dianna Russini published an article on Monday afternoon detailing what she's been hearing was the deterrent for owners from interviewing Vrabel.
And to say the alleged reasons are bizarre would be putting it lightly.
"I don't think there was a fit for him. I don't think he sat in front of any owner who thought that his style was going to work for what they were looking for...I had a GM at the Senior Bowl who mentioned to me Vrabel's physical build. That he's a very large human being. And can be very intimidating to people in an organization that are going to be part of these decisions. And that is a factor."
"That he's a very large human being."
Yes, you read that correctly. Imagine not interviewing a perfectly good candidate for your head coaching job because you think a 6'4", 260 lbs. man is too intimidating; what are you doing? How is this a serious reason?
It would make the league look even worse if any team owner honestly used this excuse because knowing Belichick and Vrabel won't be coaching next season is almost inconceivable. But to hear that, in Vrabel's case, it wasn't because of any concern similar to those about Belichick but because of his stature, which is downright embarrassing.
The good thing is we know that wasn't the case with the Patriots; Kraft already had a plan with Mayo. Maybe they could bring Vrabel in for a coordinator position instead, even if it's just for one season.