FOXBORO, Mass. – If you’re a long-time fan of the New England Patriots, you knew about Mike Vrabel well before he took the Tennessee Titans to three straight postseason appearances and was named the AP Coach of the Year award in 2021.
You knew 2007 First-Team All-Pro linebacker: Mike Vrabel. You knew three-time Super Bowl Champion: Mike Vrabel. Maybe most notably, you knew 10 career catches, 10 career touchdowns: Mike Vrabel.
Well on Wednesday afternoon, after seven(!!) tries on the ballot, that Mike Vrabel was elected into the Patriots Hall of Fame – beating out finalists Bill Parcells and Logan Mankins.
Here’s what team owner Robert Kraft had to say on his induction (from Patriots PR):
“It’s my pleasure to announce Mike Vrabel as this year’s selection to the Patriots Hall of Fame. Mike’s leadership and versatility were principal to one of the most successful eras in franchise history, propelling the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles in four years and establishing multiple NFL records for consecutive-game win streaks. Many Patriots players have made contributions in all three phases of the game, but none more significantly than Mike.
He was an eight-year starter on defense who also regularly contributed on special teams and is the only player in NFL history to score touchdowns on his first 10 career receptions, including touchdowns in back-to-back Super Bowl victories. He was respected for his football intellect and was destined to become a head coach in this league. I look forward to welcoming him back to New England, where his induction will preserve his legacy as one of the greatest players in franchise history.”
“It’s obviously special”, said Vrabel on Thursday in a conference call with the media via Zoom. “I have a lot of people to thank.”
Vrabel signed with the Patriots heading into the 2001 season and played eight years in New England. His greatest? The undefeated regular season of 2007. Vrabel tallied 77 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 17 QB hits over 15 games (and 15 wins). He was named a First Team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler.
Vrabel also turned into a red zone threat for the Patriot offense, hauling in 10 career receptions, all for touchdowns. He credits Charlie Weis and Drew Bledsoe for the opportunity, saying that he would catch balls with Bledsoe as a joke before practice, and he told Weis: “this guy could probably do something.”
On his career as a whole, Vrabel called it, “very rewarding. It certainly set me up for a great future.” He also added that “it’s great to see everyone [of my teammates] having success after football… in every avenue we pursued whether that’s TV or football or business. That’s what I’m the most proud of.”