Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees announes his retirement. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)
Former Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ retirement might be a short one.
Less than a month after he announced that his 45-year coaching career was over following a disappointing end to the Ravens’ 2017 season, Pees is having discussions about joining the staff of one of his former players, new Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, according to multiple sources.One potential scenario is Pees becoming the Titans’ next defensive coordinator and his son, Matt, joining him on Vrabel’s staff.
According to sources, the discussions between Pees and the Titans are ongoing and nothing has been agreed to or finalized.
Pees, who spent Saturday in Ohio, where he was given a lifetime achievement award from the University of Findlay, hasn’t addressed the possibility of coming out of retirement and teaming with Vrabel.
Vrabel, the Houston Texans defensive coordinator in 2017, was hired as head coach of the Titans on Jan. 20. His relationship to Pees dates to his playing days with the New England Patriots. Pees was Vrabel’s linebackers coach for the New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005 and his defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008.
After Vrabel replaced head coach Mike Mularkey, one of his first moves was firing legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. He reportedly was targeting former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher to fill the Titans’ vacancy, but Bettcher joined Pat Shurmer’s New York Giants staff.
Pees returning to the NFL would be a testament to his relationship with Vrabel. When he announced his retirement a day after the Ravens’ season-ending loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Pees said he made the decision because he wanted to spend more time around his family. The 68-year-old and his wife, Melody, have six children and 10 grandchildren.
“A lot of times, guys are forced to retire because of health reasons or whatever, and my health could not be better. I think that is the reason why I want to retire,” Pees said Jan. 1. “I feel like most of the time in my 45-year career, football has probably come first and everything else second. It’s time that changes. I really want to spend a lot of time with my wife. We have a lot of grandkids … that are all active in sports and I want to see them participate. I missed a lot with my kids and I don’t really want to miss a lot with the grandkids.”
Pees was the Ravens defensive coordinator for the past six seasons. The Ravens finished with a top-10 defense in three of those seasons. In his first year as the Ravens defensive coordinator, Pees’ group had a decisive goal-line stand to secure a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. Pees also won a Super Bowl ring as New England’s linebackers coach in 2004.
Under Pees in 2017, the Ravens had a league-leading three shutouts and 33 takeaways. The Ravens also ranked sixth in points allowed per game (18.9). However, late-game collapses in December defeats the last two years to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bengals were big reasons the team missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year.