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Vrabel rejects offer to become defensive coordinator in San Francisco

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Chip Kelly thought San Francisco presented the best opportunity for him. Mike Vrabel didn’t.

The Texans linebackers coach has rejected an offer to join Kelly as the 49ers defensive coordinator, per multiple reports.

Vrabel, 40, joined the Texans in 2014 with coach Bill O’Brien. While making the move to the 49ers would have represented a step up for Vrabel (it also could have put him in position to be considered for head-coaching jobs), he opted to remain in Houston.

It’s possible Vrabel has received a wink-nod commitment from O’Brien of a promotion to defensive coordinator once 68-year-old Romeo Crennel retires. Or perhaps Vrabel simply didn’t believe that his long-term prospects would be served by running the defense of a team with a high-speed offense that will likely have plenty of short possessions, putting extra pressure on the other side of the ball.

The 49ers have not yet released defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, who could continue to serve in that role.

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64 Responses to “Vrabel rejects offer to become defensive coordinator in San Francisco”
  1. lifeasm says: Jan 21, 2016 9:51 PM

    Vrabel is scared Chippy might trade him in the middle of the season

  2. damcmp says: Jan 21, 2016 9:52 PM

    O’Brien wink and a nod… he has to save his own job before Crennel retires

  3. mrlaloosh says: Jan 21, 2016 9:58 PM

    I can’t believe the 49ers still employ Eric Vangini…

  4. ctiggs says: Jan 21, 2016 10:00 PM

    Nobody wants to work with baalke or york

  5. metspeed21 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:05 PM

    I can’t believe they’d prefer Vrabel over Mangini. I would’ve been happy with Mangini in Cleveland again. Two smart guys like Chip and Eric working together could be bad news for NFC west.

  6. houston1193 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:16 PM

    If O’Brien finds a QB, he’s probably safe. If not, he’s gone. I think he’s a good coach considering he’s had winning records both years in Houston with below average QBs and limited talent at receiver besides Hopkins, but aside from Fitzpatrick breaking his leg in 2014, he brought this situation on himself.

  7. bucfanforlife says: Jan 21, 2016 10:18 PM

    or maybe he is happy working obrien and romeo guys he has known and worked with for years

  8. arctantheta says: Jan 21, 2016 10:20 PM

    evidently mr. vrabel isn’t suffering any concussion related effects from his playing career.

  9. imodan says: Jan 21, 2016 10:21 PM

    My guess is Vrabel saw that back stabbing biotch Mangini walking thru the complex, puked a little in his mouth and left.

  10. suncawy says: Jan 21, 2016 10:23 PM

    He probably called Belichick and asked him if Chip would be a good coach to work for. Belichick told him Chip’s football philosophy won’t work in the NFL and you will be fired in 2 years.

  11. carloswlassiter says: Jan 21, 2016 10:26 PM

    Maybe Vrabel feels he isn’t ready yet, and needs another season of experience. He’s young and he has time – but moving too fast and failing would set him back years.

    In the meantime, you can’t possibly keep Mangini after trying to replace him.

  12. njraiderfan19 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:27 PM

    Maybe they refused to pay him in beer?

  13. exoneratedbyscience says: Jan 21, 2016 10:35 PM

    Smart guy, that would be like tying up to the Titanic. Mangenious is perfect for them.

  14. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Jan 21, 2016 10:37 PM

    Maybe Vrabel did the interview as a courtesy and for visibility but was uncomfortable accepting a position that hasn’t yet been vacated by it’s current occupant who also happens to be a friend of his

  15. ledhed1212 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:38 PM

    After seeing this clown on Hard Knocks, and seeing how much disrespect and verbal abuse he heaps on his players in his position as their coach – well….I hope he NEVER gets another NFL job…. What a classless jerk, rings or not….

  16. chieftaindawg says: Jan 21, 2016 10:41 PM

    Vrabel is still a stand up guy, like he was on D for us in NE. But keep a Rolodex, just in case

  17. dynam01 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:50 PM

    Who would want to be coach of a defense that’s going to be on the field 2/3 of every game? Ask Billy Davis how that movie ends…

  18. genericcommenter says: Jan 21, 2016 11:03 PM

    ledhed1212 says:
    Jan 21, 2016 10:38 PM
    After seeing this clown on Hard Knocks, and seeing how much disrespect and verbal abuse he heaps on his players in his position as their coach – well….I hope he NEVER gets another NFL job…. What a classless jerk, rings or not….

    Sounds like maybe he should go back to college, since posts here always say it’s better to abuse kids than grown men.

  19. rogergoodellisatwat says: Jan 21, 2016 11:10 PM

    Vrabel is too smart to get caught up in the ongoing train wreck in SF. (Second coach in as many days to leave them standing at the altar.) As for honoring his “friendship” with Mangini, that’s hilarious. Vrabel is well respected in New England, Mangini is a pariah.

  20. llcamino says: Jan 21, 2016 11:21 PM

    He’s smart enough to realize that any defense under Chip is going to look terrible. 23 second 3 and outs will do that to a defense.

  21. sonoco says: Jan 21, 2016 11:23 PM

    As a Niner fan I’m kinda bummed but no hard feelings. Vrabel got his name on the map and probably a nice raise from the Texans. Good for him.  Regardless of the jilt I like where Kelly’s mind was at in going after him.

  22. wrossi81 says: Jan 21, 2016 11:43 PM

    Wow, this is a serious statement about the state of Chip Kelly and the 49ers. Vrabel is obviously a guy ascending through the ranks, and just saying no to a move up the ladder is a serious red flag. Even if he did it to eventually take the same job under O’Brien, you know that means he thinks Bill will be an HC longer than Chip.

  23. cosmicconvoy says: Jan 22, 2016 12:08 AM

    Does anyone anywhere want to work for a narcissistic head case?
    I’m sure Vrabel was also impressed by Kelly going public with his next choice before releasing Mangini.
    It’s what Jeff Lurie calls “emotional intelligence.”

  24. pamperpro says: Jan 22, 2016 12:29 AM

    Train wreck.

    Smart man. Stay where your at instead.

  25. thegreatgabbert says: Jan 22, 2016 12:43 AM

    What kind of jerk, (or what kind of jerk’s agent) leaks that he is being considered for a position that isn’t officially vacant, then leaks that he turned down the offer.

    Mike Vrabel, that’s what kind of jerk, evidently.

  26. flairoholic says: Jan 22, 2016 12:50 AM

    Vrabel is a chicken. Doesn’t feel he can coordinate a defense yet….I can see the tears running down is Belicheat eyes…

  27. gohawks7 says: Jan 22, 2016 12:56 AM

    Chip is going to realize very soon that maybe he should have held out for other offers before jumping in so soon. There is a reason why so many coaches refused job offers from the Niners last year.

  28. kvt7280 says: Jan 22, 2016 1:19 AM

    If your a linebackers coach and getting paid the same amount of a DC and love the environment he is currently in, i’d stay, too. Its not like the 49ers have a bad defense either, it’s just a young defense. If Vrabel somehows gets the DC job in the near future, that is great but if his goal is to be a head coach, i think it’s a bad move. Mangini will be the last resort, if they can’t find someone else.

  29. mrjdon says: Jan 22, 2016 1:35 AM

    That whole dog-and-pony circus in San Fran with Chip is gonna crash-and-burn in a year or two.
    Mike Vrabel probably sees it coming an doesn’t want to be part of it.

    “Part of something is better than more of nothing.”

  30. jcus says: Jan 22, 2016 1:43 AM

    Easiest way to get some love from your current employer is to go an do an interview with a competitor. Commong sense decision to do is stay where you can be successful, know your turf and make an impact.

    Why would Vrabel miss the opportunity to keep going on with his development under Romeo, and choose instead to go to a place that looks like an overloaded Soap Opera with a backstabbing coach, an egocentric GM and an owner that doesn’t know what performance management is?

  31. joenash72 says: Jan 22, 2016 1:44 AM

    Jim Tomsula for D.C. 😉

  32. noteamforlosangeles says: Jan 22, 2016 1:46 AM

    The Harbaugh curse strikes again!

  33. niners806 says: Jan 22, 2016 1:57 AM

    Thank god! That’s all we need another inexperience coordinator. The bay area media would’ve had a field day with his felony charge especially after everything that’s gone on with Aldon Smith etc

  34. niners806 says: Jan 22, 2016 2:00 AM

    As a 9er fan I’m just glad that Chip doesn’t want to settle with Mangini as DC. That fools horrible!

  35. niners806 says: Jan 22, 2016 2:06 AM

    I’ll take Lovie Smith all day and some instead of Vrabel! I know it won’t happen because of the personnel but that’s what I was hoping for.

  36. jimmysee says: Jan 22, 2016 2:10 AM

    Houston amazingly made the playoffs. Might be a long while ’till the ’49ers can match that.

  37. Tom Last says: Jan 22, 2016 2:56 AM

    Vrabel is a coward. He interviewed for the job and then chicked out to play it safe. Chip Kelly will begin a dynasty in SF because he is 10 years ahead of his time. Only those with the fearless courage to be cutting edge need apply.

  38. jrclark1978 says: Jan 22, 2016 5:28 AM

    Who wouldn’t want the job of a lifetime? You get to work for 3 egotistical jerk-offs every day until one of them throws you under the bus and sends you packing within your first year. Dream job.

  39. alonestartexan says: Jan 22, 2016 5:31 AM

    O’Brien’s only made two mistakes thus far and both could/should be thrown on Rick Smiths shoulders.

    They passed on Bortles and Bridgewater to select Clowney (when obviously Mercilus is a better player) then passed on Derek Carr for Xavier Su’a-Filo just because Carr’s brother was a major bust a decade earlier.

    Sadly for O’Brien, it doesn’t look like there’s any world changers at QB in the draft and not many options in free agency. Maybe Manziel or RG3, but are they really much of an improvement?

    Personally, I think the best option is to trade for Mike Glennon from the Buccaneers.

  40. screamingyellowzonkers says: Jan 22, 2016 5:33 AM

    Chip is publicly trying to hire a defensive coordinator while he still has a defensive coordinator?

    Why would anybody walk into that situation?

    Chip and the SF front office are a cluster fudge.

  41. polapea says: Jan 22, 2016 5:53 AM

    It took Kelly a while to find a DC in Philly also. As a DC or potential DC do you want to coach a D which is guaranteed to be in the bottom 5 in the league? It’s simply not possible to have a statistically successful D with Chip’s offense. And stats are how DC’s are judged and if you don’t show well in your first shot, you may never get another.

    Hey Chip look up “complimentary football”

  42. mhm0428 says: Jan 22, 2016 5:57 AM

    He probably doesn’t want his first opportunity as a DC to be a failure. No DC can look good when they are on the field for 2/3 of the game. Time of possesion is important, who cares how many plays you run when at the end of the game the defense can’t make a stop because they are exhausted. Smart move by Vrabel, DC with Chip is career suicide. I think Billy Davis is still available.

  43. chicagofan4ever says: Jan 22, 2016 6:30 AM

    Chip Kelly will still attempt to FIRE him. Nobody quits on or turns down the opporunity to work for the Master Mind, which is Chip Kelly!

  44. deddmunnie says: Jan 22, 2016 6:52 AM

    Who wants to coach a defense that’s on the field 75% of the game. Good luck out west chippy. Not.

  45. therealtrenches says: Jan 22, 2016 7:00 AM

    Hey Chip, I hear Bill Davis is available.

  46. abninf says: Jan 22, 2016 7:44 AM

    You mean he didn’t want to go from 0% to 13.3% state income tax rate and a much higher cost of living??

  47. texanaggie says: Jan 22, 2016 8:11 AM

    Sweet, I am glad he is staying here, Vrabel is smart to stay here and learn a ton more from Romeo Crennel and not for nothing O’Brien who got this team to the playoffs with a bunch of backup QB’s

    My thoughts of O’Brien is still out, but i have to say he needs to look at his OC and really think long and hard about bringing him back, the offense at times was very very bland 1st dwn run 2nd down run 3 and long and you throw passes short of the 1st dwn and or run a draw/screen

  48. chrisk61 says: Jan 22, 2016 8:55 AM

    Kelly, despite not coming from the belichick coach or player tree, is a belichick guy. as soon as Kelly finds a replacement DC, he will fire mangini out of respect for belichick who hates mangini for going to jets and exposing videogate.

    vrabel is smart. Kelly’s defenses struggle due to his up tempo offense. too many one minute 3 and outs where the defense gets right back on the field. they get tired and are exhausted in 4th quarter.

    SF made a big mistake. the data was there from Kelly’s phila expericnce, screaming at them, that his system won’t work in nfl. but they bought Kelly’s spin that it was an east coast thing and things would be different in SF on the west coast.

  49. silvernblacksabbath says: Jan 22, 2016 9:06 AM

    ^^^^ Exactly right @ chrisk61.
    What defensive mind wants to be part of a team that runs a no huddle?

  50. imamarinebiologist says: Jan 22, 2016 9:10 AM

    Gee ledhead, sounds like you’re one of these pus pus millennials who don’t know what it’s like to be pushed to maximize potential talent because your coaches weren’t allowed to instill discipline or results oriented punishment. You were all equally mediocre.

  51. cross300 says: Jan 22, 2016 9:30 AM

    Vrabel is one of the smartest players. He would make a great coach. He is smart to find a better opportunity. I hope one day he returns back to the patriots organization.

  52. jhisler says: Jan 22, 2016 10:12 AM

    49ers are a train wreck. Theres nothing on that defense, if hes going to get promoted in houston at some point, its probably worth staying and hoping the organization sticks with what they have. Otherwise, if he gets let go, this looks good on his resume.

  53. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Jan 22, 2016 10:26 AM

    Tom Last says:
    Jan 22, 2016 2:56 AM
    Vrabel is a coward. He interviewed for the job and then chicked out to play it safe. Chip Kelly will begin a dynasty in SF because he is 10 years ahead of his time. Only those with the fearless courage to be cutting edge need apply.

    tom: the only person who would say the above is someone butt-hurt by being rejected (the coward part) and also invested in the “chippah cutting edge dynasty” story.

    which leaves an agent or an employee of the niners as likely candidates. ordinary grown folks know that acceptance of a job interview does not imply taking the job if offered thus the coward label is pretty slimy.

    and anyone that can’t see this train wreck coming is, as i said, invested in some way in the kelly experiment.

  54. zampft says: Jan 22, 2016 10:30 AM

    Maybe he doesn’t like the prospect of living in California. It’s a far cry from Texas, Ohio or Pennsylvania.

  55. doughnutydoug says: Jan 22, 2016 10:34 AM

    Why would he interview for the job if he doesn’t want it? Another embarrassment for the 49ers leadership though.

  56. scorpionking247 says: Jan 22, 2016 10:41 AM

    Vrabel and his agent, used the process to elevate their position with Houston. Nobody except his agent leaked to the media that he was offered, while Mangini was still in the position. Teams just don’t work like that. Once Houston got wind of it, they probably bumped his pay and also promised a promotion down the line to stay. Now Mangini’s pride should be saying I’m outta here, but the reality is not too many if anybody else wants to take this guy and put him on their staff. He’s been humbled but I bet he’s trying to stay, which is bad for SF. He sucks as a DC. Can’t wait to hear the Chip, Trent and York spin on this flop!

  57. jsmith563 says: Jan 22, 2016 10:48 AM

    does anyone here have any idea what the average pay is for these coaches?

  58. ninerdynasty says: Jan 22, 2016 11:35 AM

    why interview if he didn’t want to leave or want the job? or was he using another team for leverage on his current job ? very unprofessional in my opinions..

  59. fanaticks says: Jan 22, 2016 12:09 PM

    Vrabel was paid off to stay in Houston. Growing up in the game, he knows it is a business and he gets the best of both worlds, the money without worrying about Chip Kelly’s offense. Now everyone knows his name as well as an upcoming talent. I love his passion and how he talks to the players, no babying just straight forward. Could be a great head coach someday.

  60. ledhed1212 says: Jan 22, 2016 12:39 PM

    The only thing I can say to this is: I certainly hope your boss speaks to you (the same way as Vrabel does to his players) today, and every day ongoing….The dynamic I refer to is called basic “respect” for fellow human beings and I don’t believe his players were being disrespectful to him AT ANY TIME considering they were playing for their jobs to warrant that approach….. It’s the most BASE level of motivation imaginable, and only comes from the most “Neanderthal”, from the least evolved types of men with poor management skills – If a manager chooses to motivate with fear, then they “Fail The Management Trainee Course” by default – Once again – it truly shouldn’t be an issue for you if YOUR boss speaks to YOU in that manner…. But if you are a “marine biol0gist”, as your handle states, you probably spend a lot of time wet and alone…. Did you even watch Hard Knocks this season??
    imamarinebiologist says:
    Jan 22, 2016 9:10 AM

    Gee ledhead, sounds like you’re one of these pus pus millennials who don’t know what it’s like to be pushed to maximize potential talent because your coaches weren’t allowed to instill discipline or results oriented punishment. You were all equally mediocre.

  61. lscratchingthesurface says: Jan 22, 2016 6:53 PM

    I never saw him on Hard Knocks but Vrabel was a great leader during his time with the Chiefs. He was also quite friendly with fans too.
    Again, I never saw the Hard knocks stuff but I can only tell you what kind of guy he was when he played here.

  62. lscratchingthesurface says: Jan 22, 2016 6:57 PM

    Any Defensive Coordinator won’t look good having to be on the field so much. Any coach has to be thinking do I want to subject family, friends and defensive unit leaders to the agony? It is an easy decision. NO.

  63. kecando says: Jan 23, 2016 11:26 AM

    Got good advice from all the coaches that turned down DUMB&DUMBERS offers… My WAY OR THE HIGHWAY… does not work with talented coaches!!!

  64. akboots says: Jan 23, 2016 6:29 PM

    I used to hate the 9ers. Now I find myself feeling sorry for them.

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