Mike Vrabel was a big name among NFL head-coaching candidates. But as it turns out, the former Titans head coach might have been too big.
One NFL general manager reportedly believed Vrabel’s physical build may have deterred front offices, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reported on “The Athletic Football Show.” The Commanders’ hiring of Dan Quinn filled the last vacancy and shut the door on Vrabel for the 2024 cycle.
Russini outlined what the general manager told her, saying: “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.”
While Russini initially “laughed” at the idea that Vrabel’s size played into the hiring process, the general manager reiterated his belief.
“I said, ‘Stop, that’s not something that’s real. Who cares what someone physically looks like?'” Russini said. “And he said, ‘I’m just telling you, I’ve been in rooms and somebody’s physical presence can make a difference.'”
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The Titans surprised many observers with their decision to let go of Vrabel, who frequently got strong performances out of his teams. And at the Senior Bowl, plenty of NFL executives believed he would get another job this offseason, if not a head coaching job.
“Everyone was just thinking he was going to pop up and get a job and word just didn’t get out,” Russini said. “And I do believe there are some teams that are interested in bringing him in to be defensive coordinator. We’ll see if that still pans out. But I think that would be pretty shocking to see him go from where he was.”
Vrabel was not the only high-profile head-coaching candidate left stranded when the carousel stopped spinning. Bill Belichick, who has the most Super Bowl rings of any NFL head coach, also is without a job.
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In addition to Vrabel’s “intimidating” size, Russini noted his age (48), which places him in between the up-and-coming coaching candidates and seasoned veterans.
“Belichick and Vrabel are very different. I feel like also from an age factor, Vrabel got stuck in that weird late 40s, early 50s bracket, where you’re not really young anymore, you’re not like Mike McDonald, running around,” Russini said. “I was surprised that the Commanders didn’t even meet him though for an interview, even just to learn, because I think we can give him credit for having success in Tennessee. We keep talking about culture-building, identity.”
That style, though, might not have been for everyone.
“I don’t think there was a fit for him,” Russini said. “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.”
Mike Vrabel height and weight
Vrabel played linebacker for 14 years in the NFL. It stands to reason he’s a bigger guy.
He stands at 6-4 and 261 pounds, per Pro Football Reference.
By comparison, Texans coach DeMeco Ryans, who is considered a Coach of the Year candidate, is listed at 6-1, 247 pounds. Lions coach Dan Campbell, SN’s Coach of the Year, is listed at 6-5, 265 pounds.
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