At the Carrier Dome as Syracuse basketball took on North Carolina last weekend, Tom Brady and Julian Edelman turned to FaceTime.
With Mike Vrabel.
The former New England Patriots linebacker and current Tennessee Titans head coach addressed the video chat between old friends Friday on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.”
“My relationship goes back to 2001 with Tom Brady and training camp at [Bryant College in] Rhode Island and Parente’s,” Vrabel said. “We’d go practice and a bunch of us would go out to the bar at Parente’s after practice. That’s where a lot of those friendships were made. Those friendships aren’t going to stop or not continue to grow and develop now that I’m a head coach and he’s a quarterback with an expiring contract. And those are going to continue on well after we’re done playing.”
The Patriots remain the oddsmakers’ favorites to sign Brady, whose deal is scheduled to void when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET March 18. The Titans currently hold +500 odds to land the 42-year-old quarterback, according to BetOnline.ag.
“With his family, with my family, and having the ability to meet Jules and all those players – there’s a special bond that goes on in the locker room,” Vrabel continued. “And that’s not going to stop, the same way that Larry Izzo or Tedy Bruschi or Willie McGinest or Wes Welker and Matt Cassel and I all have a relationship.”
If not franchise-tagged by next Thursday’s deadline, incumbent Titans starter Ryan Tannehill will also be entering the unrestricted market. The same goes for backup QB Marcus Mariota and reigning NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry, who amassed 32 carries for 182 yards and one touchdown against New England in January’s AFC wild card.
The in-house movement is ongoing for Vrabel and Titans general manager Jon Robinson.
“We always recognize those players that have helped us get to where we are,” Vrabel told NFL Network. “And obviously, the business of football, to me, is that every day Jon and I are trying to look for players that are younger and cheaper. And the players in those seats are doing everything that they possibly can to make sure that that doesn’t happen. And I recognize that that’s what the definition of the business of football is to me. I recognized it in my career and obviously see it in the same sense as a head coach.”