Mike Vrabel leaves Ohio State for Texans
Jan 9, 2014 at 6:14p ET
Mike Vrabel is leaving Ohio State to join Bill O'Brien's staff with the Houston Texans, an Ohio State spokesperson confirmed on Thursday evening.
Vrabel confirmed the move himself on Twitter while thanking fans who watched him coach and play for the Buckeyes.
I am thankful for everyone assoc with TOSU for 3 great years and my family and I are excited to join the Houston Texans as the LB coach.— Mike Vrabel (@CoachVrabel50) January 9, 2014
Vrabel went straight from a 14-year NFL playing career into coaching at his alma mater over the last three seasons, first as linebackers coach under Luke Fickell in 2011 and the last two as defensive line coach under Urban Meyer.
The loss of Vrabel is a hit to Meyer's recruiting machine. Vrabel's NFL experience, Super Bowl rings and connections helped the Buckeyes recruit well in Vrabel's native Northeast Ohio and nationwide.
Vrabel played for the New England Patriots when O'Brien was an assistant there in 2007-08. O'Brien has not yet hired a defensive coordinator but multiple reports have linked Romeo Crennel, another former Patriots assistant who coached Vrabel, to the opening.
As a player, Vrabel was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year (1995-96) and twice set the school's single-season sack record. He was a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1997.
Vrabel's departure is the second from the Ohio State defensive staff since the Buckeyes lost in the Big Ten Championship Game. Everett Withers, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach, accepted the head-coaching job at James Madison.