Vrabel had a good run in K.C. if this is the end

July, 8, 2011
7/08/11
5:45
PM ET
Free agent Kansas City linebacker Mike Vrabel is close to becoming an assistant coach at Ohio State, College Football Talk reported Thursday.

This move makes sense in some regards. He attended Ohio State and one of Vrabel's best friends is new Buckeyes coach Luke Fickell. The 35-year-old Vrabel is also nearing the end of his career. However, Vrabel has said he wants to play in 2011 and he is heavily involved in the lockout talks as a NFLPA executive committee member.

But if Vrabel's career is at an end, I wanted to look at how it would affect the Chiefs:

I think the biggest hit would be in the leadership department. Vrabel was basically a coach on the field and he was relied upon by the Kansas City coaching staff to instruct his teammates on the field. The Chiefs have a young roster and Vrabel’s leadership ability helped the defense quickly develop into a unit that played a huge part of a surprise AFC West title last season.

The Chiefs received two years of leadership out of Vrabel and he helped. If he is leaving, the young unit has learned from him and it should be OK because it does have vocal leaders like Derrick Johnson, Glenn Dorsey, Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers on the unit. But his daily presence would be missed.

I think the Chiefs would like him back in a certain role, but I don’t think the Chiefs would miss Vrabel much on the field. But the Chiefs have several young players, including third-round pick Justin Houston who they want to use as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

If this is the end for Vrabel in Kansas City, it has been a good ride. He was acquired with Matt Cassel for a second-round pick from New England on the first day former Patriots’ executive Scott Pioli could make a move as general manager of the Chiefs in 2009. Vrabel gave the Chiefs what they needed. He was a veteran presence on a young team. He helped the Chiefs become a division champion.

Vrabel could have lost interest after going from a perennial winner in New England to a team that was rebuilding. But he was a consummate professional in Kansas City. If Vrabel is going back to his alma mater, the Chiefs should have nothing but good memories of him.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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