After passing on all of the voluntary workouts last season, Mike Vrabel told the Kansas City Star that he will attend the first of the Chiefs 14 scheduled offseason practices.
“I’m looking forward to being there and getting back to work,” Vrabel said. “I told Todd (Haley) I plan to be at all of the (practices) and the minicamp. It’s the exact same schedule I had for my last seven years in New England.”
Vrabel was one of two starters who didn’t participate in most of last year’s offseason practices. The other, guard Brian Waters, said in March he would attend the June minicamp but was unsure about the other offseason practices.
Vrabel participated only in the minicamp last year and didn’t join the Chiefs for good until the start of summer training camp.
“I wasn’t in a big hurry to get to Kansas City,” he said. “But that’s so far in the past. Once I got there and realized the type of people we had around and the type of people they wanted to bring in, it was fine. It was frustrating to lose. We were in a lot of close games and I think that will help us this year. Everybody left some plays out there on the field and we left a couple of wins out there. We all understand that.
“Every year, teams are going to be different. Some teams that had a really good season last year won’t be very good this year and some teams that weren’t very good last year will be good this season. We need to commit ourselves to being one of those teams.”
Vrabel indicated he felt a sense of urgency this season, his 14th in the NFL. He will be 35 in August and said he understands this could be his final season. That the Chiefs signed him to a one-year contract would seem to indicate they understand as well.
“When you turn 34 in the National Football League, you’re lucky to still have a job,” Vrabel said. “So it’s closer to the end than it is to the beginning for me. I fully intend to put everything into this season and then I’ll evaluate things at the end of the season, I hope at the end of this season I’m able to do it again. If I’m not, then that will be it.”
This is great news for the defense and the Chiefs as a whole. Especially if it sends a message to Waters about the importance of the team coming together in order to take that next step this season.
It’s also good to finally hear Vrabel admit the reason he didn’t attend any of the voluntary workouts last year was because he was upset with the trade. It wasn’t a difficult thing to figure out, but during the season Vrabel kept going back to the line about exercising his rights under the CBA.
I don’t want to make too big of a deal out of one player attending a practice, but it is a great sign for the rest of the offseason.