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

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Q&A with Mike Vrabel



September 07, 2007

FOXBORO — Considering that he was once the proverbial ugly duckling, linebacker cum situational tight end Mike Vrabel has found quite the niche for himself. Now entering his seventh season as a New England Patriot, the 32-year-old Vrabel has entrenched himself as an almost indispensable component.

A pre-med major at Ohio State, Vrabel barely stepped on the field during his first four pro seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since signing with New England in March 2001, Vrabel's been a fixture on the defense and, occasionally, on short-yardage situations. Perhaps even more impressive than his versatility on the
defense (including high-level play at either inside or outside linebacker), though, are his receiving numbers: eight career catches, eight touchdowns.

Not surprisingly, head coach Bill Belichick has lauded his intelligence, referring to him on several occasions as one of the smartest players he's ever coached. Teammate and fellow linebacker Rosevelt Colvin says Vrabel is a "Swiss Army knife" because of his versatility and game knowledge. Quarterback Tom Brady has a love-hate relationship with him.

He loves him on Sundays, but hates Vrabel on Saturdays in the fall. The Michigan alum knows Vrabel's a Buckeye through and through, and one always seeking the opportunity to stick it to No. 12.

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