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Titans hire Mike Vrabel as new head coach

Oct 8, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel prior to the game against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Vrabel has been hired as next head coach of the Tennessee Titans, just two days after being interviewed for the position following the stunning departure of Mike Mularkey.

“I am excited to have Mike Vrabel joining our organization as our new head coach,” Titans Controlling Owner Amy Adams Strunk said, per the team release. “In the interaction between Mike and Jon (Robinson) during the interview, you could see their connection right away from the history they have with one another – seeing the game in a similar way and talking the same language. Mike has a commanding presence and a deep knowledge for how he will attack this head coaching opportunity. Throughout his football career, he has played for, been mentored by and coached with successful teams and organizations. He knows what it takes to reach that level of sustained success – he has seen it first-hand. We have a chance to build on the solid foundation that we established over the past couple of years and I believe Mike is the right person to continue that progress.”

Vrabel, 42, was the defensive coordinator of the Houston Texans this past season and coached the team’s linebackers three years before that. He’s a former NFL linebacker who has been long thought of as head coaching material. Now he has his first chance to prove he’s up to that daunting challenge.

“This is an incredible opportunity and one I have been preparing for my entire football life,” said Vrabel. “I want to thank Amy, Jon and the entire Titans organization for putting their faith in me. I am excited to get to work and that work starts now. We want to build a culture around winning, competitiveness and toughness. Everything we do is going to be geared towards winning and being physical. We want to prepare our players so they know what to do, which will allow them to play fast and aggressive.”

Mularkey’s sudden departure came less than a day after it had been reported the Titans offered him a contract extension. However, on Monday morning after Tennessee lost to New England in the Divisional Round, he parted ways with the franchise.

Vrabel inherits a talented roster that has gone 9-7 the past two years. His most important immediate task will be to find an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for young quarterback Marcus Mariota, who struggled for much of his third season.