NFL notebook: Titans hire Vrabel as head coach

Reuters

The Tennessee Titans landed a new coach on Saturday when 42-year-old Mike Vrabel, who was the Houston Texans' defensive coordinator last season, accepted the position.

The first-time head coach replaces Mike Mularkey, who guided the Titans to the playoffs and won a playoff game before getting fired. A former NFL linebacker, Vrabel has deep familiarity with general manager Jon Robinson from their time together with the New England Patriots when Vrabel was a player and Robinson was a rising executive.

"I have always had a great deal of respect for Mike as a player and as a coach," Robinson said in a statement. "I saw him up close as a player for the Patriots and saw how he prepared himself to be successful on a daily basis. He was the ultimate team-first player, and he embodies that same mindset as a coach."

Vrabel added, "I am excited to get to work and that work starts now. We want to build a culture around winning, competitiveness and toughness."

--With Vrabel's departure, Romeo Crennel will return to his post as the Texans' defensive coordinator, a position he held from 2014-16 before moving to assistant head coach in 2017.

Head coach Bill O'Brien confirmed Crennel will run the defense as well as keep his title of assistant head coach.

"Yeah, he was still really involved with the defense this past year," O'Brien told the Fox affiliate in Houston. "He just had other duties helping me. He won't have as many of those duties. He'll be back being the defensive coordinator and still have the assistant head coach title."

--A backfield collision in Wednesday's practice involving Rex Burkhead caused Tom Brady's thumb injury, NFL Network reported.

Brady wore red gloves on his hands all three days of practice this week as the New England Patriots prepare to play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game. Brady reportedly received multiple stitches and his ability to grip the ball could be compromised. But NFL Network also reported players said Brady was firing passes at full strength on Friday, the first day he was a full participant in practice.

A source with knowledge of the situation told NESN.com that Brady will "be good" to play Sunday.

--The Minnesota Vikings have applied for federal trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the aftermath of their last-second win over the New Orleans Saints last Sunday.

On the final play of the NFC divisional playoff game, Stefon Diggs made a leaping catch of Case Keenum's throw to the right sideline and then sprinted down the sideline for a 61-yard touchdown as time expired, lifting Minnesota to a 29-24 win at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

On Monday, the team filed for three trademarks to the phrase "Minneapolis Miracle" and one to "Minnesota Miracle," according to ESPN. The Vikings seek to own the moniker on more than 100 items, including football helmets, watches, golf bags, bowling bags, bathing suits and parkas, ESPN reported.

--Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers suffered an ACL tear in his right knee in last Sunday's divisional playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to multiple reports.

Rogers underwent surgery Wednesday to repair the torn ACL, a source confirmed to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported the injury.

The 25-year-old injured his leg on the final drive of the Steelers' 45-42 loss at Heinz Field that sent the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game. He had five catches for 42 yards in the game.

--Field Level Media

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