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Mike Vrabel on The Big Show: Why it was time to retire

07.15.11 at 5:58 pm ET

Former Patriot and recently hired Ohio State linebackers coach Mike Vrabel joined The Big Show Friday afternoon  to talk about the NFL Lockout, his retirement and his coaching future with the Buckeyes. To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.

Rumors have been swirling that the NFL Players Association and the owners are nearing an agreement. Vrabel is hopeful that the two sides might reach an accord this week.

“I think for the sake of the players I hope it gets done,” Vrabel said. “But, if the timing’€™s not right, it’€™ll move on to next week.”

Vrabel detailed the process to get the actual NFL season underway once an accord is reached.

“I would say that it’€™s been talked about,” Vrabel said. “And I guess I’€™ll call that the transition phase into the season. You have to have time for a new league year to begin. And with a new league year comes free agency and then a certain learning process from the players that are on your roster before you get to training camp. There’€™s a lot that goes into it. And guys like Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick that are used to being general managers are going to feel the crunch of this process, but they’€™ll live and they’€™ll be able to survive.

“It’€™s important that the players have the proper time to prepare mentally for what they’€™re about to go into with training camp and by that I mean what’€™s expected of them, what plays are going to be run, what’€™s the packages, what’€™s the installation. You know, and then go out there and implement it in practice, but I think, just to go suit up, throw pads on and go out there and play is going to be a detriment to the players and one that’€™s going to get some guys injured.”

Vrabel, who was active in negotiations for the NFLPA, took a lot away from his experiences haggling with ownership.

“Well I think what it was, it was certainly a learning experience and one that I’€™ll be able to use as I get older and continue to hopefully coach and be a part of committees and groups,” Vrabel said. “It’€™s interesting the dynamic of the people that come through there and the people that you meet and the way the meetings are scheduled to go and the way that they end up going and where they go and what direction they head, but I think for the most part they remain positive and there is a respect factor between the players and the owners.”

Vrabel also noted that the negotiations can become very frustrating.

“You can only say the same thing three or four different ways before it just gets to be frustrating,” Vrabel said. “Whether it’€™s what the players are saying on their side or what the owners are saying on their side, at some point in time you’€™re just going to have to agree to disagree and go on.

“There are things that the owners think are important and there are things that the players think are important. I think in any good negotiation, you try to fix the other guy’€™s problem and sort of give some sort of compromise to try to help them fix their problems and the other side needs to help you fix your issues.”

Vrabel talked about the day he realized it was time to hang up his cleats for good.

“I think it was a difficult day because that day was probably January 6 or 7 or whenever we played and I kind of thought that I had come home and kind of told [his wife] Jen and the boys that, you know, that was probably going to be it,” Vrabel said. “I felt like it was it. Probably the emotion of losing a playoff game might have had something to do with it, but I kind of had an idea that that was going to be it. What I was going to do, I didn’€™t know. And then when the situation with coach [Luke] Fickell came about, that was just an easy transition.”

Added Vrabel: “I just kind of thought, ‘€˜Hey, this is going to be it. This is going to be our last year in Kansas City.’€™ Something crazy would have to happen back home. Whether it be around Columbus or near Columbus. And then as the offseason started to begin and I started to train as I normally would train, in February and March, I realized that I just couldn’€™t train and prepare for the rigors of a 16-game regular season and then hopefully the playoffs. I just didn’€™t want to become, I didn’€™t want to turn into that player that I despise, that player who didn’€™t work during the offseason and kind of let his teammates down.”

Read More: Mike Vrabel, New England Patriots, NFL lockout, Ohio State



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