INDIANAPOLIS — New Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel thought the same thing as everybody else. He figured long-time Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees was officially retired. But that didn’t stop Vrabel from at least picking up the phone and inquiring.
First, Vrabel called Ravens coach John Harbaugh and got his blessing. Then Vrabel dialed Pees, his former position coach and defensive coordinator with the New England Patriots.
“I begged, I begged, I begged and I begged,” Vrabel said. “He had all intentions of retiring. He’s talked about that. It was something that was important to me. I called Coach Harbaugh and asked him, that I was going to reach out to Dean.
“I know that Dean retired and I don’t know where it’s going to go, but I took a shot and was able to get him. We’re excited.”
Pees, who was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator for six seasons, announced his retirement on Jan. 1, the day after the season ended. Less than a month later, the 68-year-old had accepted the defensive coordinator spot with the Titans. Pees cited his relationship with Vrabel as one of the primary reasons he returned.
“We share the same beliefs,” Vrabel said of Pees. “I was always very, very prepared when I played for Dean in New England. I think that he did a great job with a veteran group of linebackers. He did a great job with our defense when he was coordinating it. I’ve admired him and stayed in touch with him in Baltimore. We’re excited to have him.”