Ohio State assistant coach Mike Vrabel hasn’t dwelled on his accomplishments as a player — not his two Big Ten defensive linemen of the year awards, his three Super Bowl wins with the New England Patriots or his 14-year NFL career.
He jumped straight to the OSU staff last year when he retired from football. And coupled with raising a family, life has been too much of a whirlwind to allow him to reflect on the past.
“It’s been a blur because we didn’t take a whole bunch of time off — whether that be in college with playing and staying here in the summers and working out, going to the NFL, taking classes, having kids, getting married, being involved in the offseason doing foundation work or football camps and then retiring and going to work,” he said. “Really, it’s been a blur because I haven’t had a whole bunch of time to sit back and write some memoir.”
Vrabel is being inducted into the OSU Hall of Fame this weekend. And while he considers it an honor, he’ll be too busy coaching the Buckeyes’ defensive line to bask in his big moment.
“I think there’s a banquet (tonight) I’ll be able to go to real quick with my family, and then Saturday, I’m sure one of my kids will stand out there at halftime and try to wave to the crowd while I’m in the locker room.”
Former Buckeye basketball player and coaching legend Bob Knight also will be honored as the first inductee in the lifetime achievement category. He is scheduled to attend the festivities.
“I love Coach Knight,” OSU football coach Urban Meyer said. “Coach Knight and I are friends. I invited him down to speak to my football team when I was at Florida. We keep in touch. He’s just a coach that everybody has opinions of, and I have my own. I think he’s a master motivator. He does it the right way. He doesn’t cheat. Maybe goes about things a little different, but that’s not my job to judge.
“I like to judge the character of the guy, and I know one thing: He does it the right way as far as following the rules, and I’ve always been impressed with that. And he graduated players.”
Meyer also said he’s long admired Vrabel.
“I got to know him when I used to go visit New England, and my friend, coach (Bill) Belichick, and I would watch the way he worked and trained — and the way coach Belichick talked about him,” Meyer said.
“It will be a great weekend for all those guys.”
The other inductees include Ray Griffin, Dick Schafrath, Pete Cusick and Joseph Gailus from football, George Downes and Rex Holman in wrestling, Louise Bond-Williams in fencing, Jessica Davenport in basketball, Keturah Lofton in track and Jim Stone as a coach in volleyball.