Mike Vrabel celebrated his 44th birthday on Wednesday.
Less than two weeks ago, Tom Brady celebrated his 42nd.
On Wednesday, as the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots gathered for joint practices in Nashville before their preseason game on Saturday, one of the men did so beginning his second season as an NFL head coach, while his former teammate was beginning his 20th season as an NFL player.
Vrabel and Brady haven’t been teammates in a decade, but some things never change.
‘Why don’t you pay attention to yourself?’
As players gathered on the Titans’ practice fields, Brady, carrying his pads and helmet, walked toward other Patriots players.
Vrabel yells to him, “Still walking on the field, huh? No walking!”
Brady immediately snipes back, “Why don’t you pay attention to your own [expletive]? Why don’t you pay attention to yourself?”
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It didn’t end there, of course. Music is a big part of many practices (except Bruce Arians’ with Tampa Bay), and according to Nora Princiotti of the Boston Globe, when the classic “Rubberband Man” came on, Vrabel shouted, “Tommy, it’s your song!”
(Brady is a big proponent of pliability, focusing on flexibility over strength training.)
‘Mikey, you better cover that’
The back-and-forth between Brady and Vrabel was reminiscent of their time together as teammates from 2001-2008, when they frequently traded jabs on the practice field.
“It was fun,” Vrabel said after Wednesday’s practice. “It brought back a lot of memories just to sit out there and have him make a play and he turns around and says, ‘Mikey, you better cover that. You’ve got to do this.’ It was a lot of fun. We have a lot of respect for those guys on offense, the way they practice and the way they operate.”
Vrabel, a first-team All-Pro linebacker with New England in 2007, was a key member of the defense during the Patriots’ first three Super Bowl wins.
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