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Browns hire former Titans head coach Mike Vrabel for consulting role

Mar. 15—Mike Vrabel, the former head coach of the Titans, has been hired by the Browns to be a coaching and personnel consultant.

Vrabel was with the Browns at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis earlier this month.

A source emphasized Vrabel's work as a consultant won't involve day-to-day coaching, but his experience will be valuable in whatever role he contributes.

Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who served in the same capacity for the Eagles from 2016-20, had the title of senior defensive assistant with the Titans in 2021 and 2022 when Vrabel was the Titans' head coach. Schwartz was hired by the Browns to be their defensive coordinator in January of last year.

Vrabel, 48, compiled a 54-45 record in six seasons with Tennessee. The Titans played for the AFC championship in 2019. They were the top AFC seed in 2021, but were eliminated by the Bengals in a divisional playoff.

Vrabel was fired in January after Tennessee finished 6-11. The Titans were 7-10 in 2022. He will be an asset to Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and General Manager Andrew Berry, but it also means Vrabel will remain relevant. He will be a candidate for a head coaching job in 2025, or he could become the Browns' next defensive coordinator if the defense performs well again and Schwartz gets head coaching offers.

After his five years with the Eagles, Schwartz, now 57, stepped away from the daily grind of coaching because of health reasons. The Browns played the Titans in the third game of 2023. Schwartz on the Thursday before the game spoke about his two years working with Vrabel.

"He's very consistent in his message," Schwartz said. "He has a philosophy, and he sticks with it. He doesn't waver when it comes to the winds of the NFL, I guess you'd say. The wind starts blowing one way, he doesn't change direction. And I think that's probably the biggest thing.

"He's an excellent leader. He's a fantastic game manager. I learned a lot from Vrabes when it came to dealing with a team and in-game management. No matter how many years you've been in the league — this is 31 for me — there's always something that you can pick up and learn from somebody else, and every day I seemed to pick up something."

Vrabel played linebacker with the Steelers, Patriots and Chiefs in a career that spanned 14 seasons from 1997-2010. He was never coached by Schwartz, but Schwartz' reputation as a good coach and a good person was well-known. Vrabel reached out to Schwartz after Schwartz stepped away from the Eagles.

"I was in a tough spot a couple of years ago," Schawrtz said. "I had to step away from the game. My thyroid had gone berserk, and I needed a bunch of different operations and procedures.

"Mike Vrabel called me, it seemed like every week for about four months, and he never once talked about football. He just always asked me how I was doing and everything else. I started feeling a little bit better, got my vision back and a bunch of different things.

"He invited me to start just, like, one day a week, and one day turned into two and two turned into three. Vrabes never once made it about anything other than, 'Do what you feel that you can do.' And pretty soon, about six months later, I was pretty much back to normal and pretty much working normal hours. But it was really an honor to be back in that organization."

Schwartz was the Titans' linebackers coach in 2000 and their defensive coordinator from 2001-2008. Schwartz was the Lions' head coach from 2009-13.