Mike Vrabel is coming back to Ohio State. After spending 14 years as a linebacker in the NFL, Vrabel retired on Monday to join the Buckeyes’ coaching staff this season.
Jim Tressel’s resignation left Ohio State with a vacancy on staff. Vrabel will coach linebackers and work under his former collegiate teammate and new Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell.
Vrabel has no coaching experience, but was regarded throughout his career as a field general and one the defense could lean upon to get everyone lined up in the proper spots.
Vrabel spent the first four of his seasons in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, before joining New England in 2001. While with the Patriots, Vrabel won three Super Bowl rings and was a valuable member of the pass rush, adding 12.5 sacks in 2007 and 9.5 in 2003.
Vrabel spent the final two years of his NFL career with Kansas City. He registered two sacks in 30 regular season games and helped to lead the Chiefs last year to their first playoff appearance since 2006.
Although Vrabel was at the end of his NFL career, this is an interesting move considering the potential NCAA sanctions at Ohio State. Vrabel is leaving another couple of years on the field for a career with the Buckeyes – and the fact Fickell may not be on the sidelines in 2012.
If Fickell isn’t on the sidelines in 2012, there’s still a good chance Vrabel is kept by the new coach. Considering his NFL experience, he would be a valuable member to keep on staff.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding Ohio State and any future penalties with the NCAA. However, Vrabel should be a great addition to tutor the linebackers in 2011 and keep the defense among the best in the Big Ten.
For more on Mike Vrabel's retirement and new job at OSU, click here.