NEIL CORNRICH & NC SPORTS: MANAGING THE CAREERS OF PROFESSIONALS IN THE SPORTS INDUSTRY

SEARCH NEILCORNRICH.COM

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Master and Commander




Excerpted from an article by Peter King

November 22, 2005

...Belichick and Pioli studied more than 200 free agents in the early months of 2001. They signed 17 bit players who made the Patriots the next season for a piddling combined signing-bonus charge of $2.7 million. One was Mike Vrabel, miscast as a special-teamer and a backup linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Belichick thought the speedy and athletic Vrabel could fill two roles -- dropping into coverage from defensive end or linebacker and playing as a nickel pass rusher.

"Until the Patriots called me, I thought seriously of going to law school, because my career with Pittsburgh wasn't working out," says Vrabel. "I didn't think anyone would find a way to use me. But I was amazed how much Bill knew about me. One day he came up to me and said, 'Remember in that Miami preseason game last year, how you played the power block? That's how we want to do it here.' In situational football, which is basically what the NFL is today, he's got to be the best mind out there." Against the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, Vrabel pressured Kurt Warner into an interception that cornerback Ty Law returned for a touchdown. In Super Bowl XXXVIII, Vrabel had two sacks against the Panthers and, in a classic display of Belichick ingenuity, caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Tom Brady.

Popular Posts

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *