If you’ve seen Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel recently, the former NFL linebacker looks like he’s still in playing shape. The 45-year-old retired from the NFL 10 years ago after 14 successful seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. Since he’s not that far removed from his playing days, he has several chances every year to coach against players he used to share the playing field with.
Take Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers for example, who is playing in season No. 17 this year. He and Vrabel had a couple of encounters in the early 2000s, and it was something Vrabel recalled ahead of their matchup on Thursday night. Since the Titans and Colts are scheduled to face off on “Thursday Night Football” tonight, ESPN’s Dianna Russini asked Vrabel if he remembered any stories that had to do with Rivers’ famous trash-talking. Vrabel said he certainly did, but it wasn’t about Rivers running his mouth, it was about Vrabel running his.
“Well I might have remembered a young Philip Rivers trying to replace Drew Brees and we were out in Qualcomm stadium and I told him — to anyone within earshot — that he would never be Drew Brees and that I knew it and he knew it and everybody else knew it,” said Vrabel. “So we laughed about it and it looks like both of them have really ended up having pretty good careers.”
Rivers, who was brought in by the San Diego Chargers to replace Brees in 2004, certainly has had a successful career. He even decided to continue playing after he and the Chargers agreed to mutually part ways this past offseason. Rivers left Los Angeles holding dozens of franchise records, including games played, wins and pass completions.
Rivers, who is 5-3 so far with the Colts this season, has completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 2,087 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Colts are right behind the 6-2 Titans in the AFC South, so this Week 10 showdown is incredibly important when it comes to the playoff race. We will certainly keep tabs on if Rivers decides to toss some verbal jabs at Vrabel and the Titans sideline this evening.