Along with Brian Waters, the only other veteran that has been absent from the voluntary workouts this offseason was LB Mike Vrabel. Just like Waters, Vrabel was in attendance today when the Kansas City Chiefs opened up their first mandatory mini-camp under Todd Haley. Vrabel was acquired along with Matt Cassel and he was as surprised as anyone when the the trade went down.
“I’m here. I didn’t sign up. There’s a difference in this league in being a free agent and being traded. I don’t know what to tell you. I got a call in March, and here I am. Don’t confuse that I’m not excited to be here, because I’m here and I’m happy. … I want to be here.”
The former Patriot went the technical route when asked about why he has not been at the previous OTAs.
“I think for lack of a better term, I’m just trying to exercise my rights in the CBA. We bargained for rights to make these workouts voluntary. And that’s all I was trying to do, exercise my rights under the CBA.”
Vrabel is a member of the NFL Players Association executive committee and was part of the selection committee for the union’s new executive director DeMaurice Smith.
I’ve been very critical of Brian Waters not attending the voluntary workouts and I want to make it clear that I feel Vrabel also should have been at every single practice. I think veterans absolutely earn the right to miss certain voluntary workouts, because after all they are voluntary. But I also think that every player, no matter their experience, has an obligation to their team when a new program is being installed. Now that everyone is here, hopefully they stick around for the final round of voluntary OTAs and we can all get ready for training camp next month and then the season.