In less than a month, Dean Pees went from retirement to leading a defense that will face the Ravens during the 2018 season.
Pees officially agreed Monday to become the Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator, reuniting him with one of his former players, Mike Vrabel, the team’s first-year head coach. Pees and Vrabel spent five years together with the New England Patriots.
The development comes just four weeks after Pees said his 45-year coaching career, which spanned every level, was over because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
The Baltimore Sun reported Sunday that Pees, 68, was considering ending his retirement and joining Vrabel’s staff in Tennessee, and his son, Matt, was expected to join him if he did.
Dean Pees coached the Ravens linebackers for two years and then succeeded Chuck Pagano as the defensive coordinator in 2012. In his first year leading the defense, the Ravens won their second Super Bowl with a late goal-line stand in a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Ravens finished with a top-10 defense in three of Pees’ six seasons as the defensive coordinator. In 2017, the Ravens led the NFL in forced turnovers and had a league-high three shutouts. However, the defense’s performance in 2017 was marred by late-game collapses in December losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. The latter defeat kept the Ravens out of the playoffs for a third consecutive year.
Pees announced his retirement a day after the game, saying he wanted to devote more time to his wife, Melody, and their six children and 10 grandchildren. Coach John Harbaugh named linebackers coach Don “Wink” Martindale as Pees’ replacement.
In Tennessee, Pees will be replace legendary defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau, who was let go by Vrabel in one of his first moves as Titans head coach.
The Titans defense finished 13th in yards per game (328.0) and 17th in points per game (22.3) last season. Tennessee upset the Kansas City Chiefs in a wild-card game, but the Titans were thumped by the eventual AFC champion New England Patriots in the divisional round.