Mike Vrabel is in with the in crowd.
One of the most versatile players in Patriots history, Vrabel is heading to the franchise’s Hall of Fame after topping a three-man finalist ticket ahead of Bill Parcells and Logan Mankins.
Vrabel reached the final three in each of the last six years, finishing behind Kevin Faulk, Raymond Clayborn, Matt Light, Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour, and Vince Wilfork.
Vrabel, 47, who is head coach of the Titans, played in New England from 2001-08 and won three Super Bowls. He is the 34th Patriots Hall honoree and the eighth with three Super Bowl rings, along with Faulk, Light, Seymour, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown, and Ty Law.
“You represent everything that every team would be privileged to have,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft told Vrabel during a video call Wednesday. “So, congratulations.”
“I feel blessed,” said Vrabel. “I feel honored because I know the people, the contributors, the players, and the coaches that are in that Hall of Fame.”
Following four seasons with the Steelers in which he was used mostly on special teams and as a reserve linebacker, Vrabel saw his career take off with the Patriots.
Vrabel played both inside and outside linebacker. In addition, he often lined up as a tight end in short-yardage situations and had 10 receptions with the Patriots (including two in the postseason), all of which went for touchdowns.
In 2018, Bill Belichick remembered Vrabel as a player who “could go all day, loved to play, loved to practice.”
“He loved to play on the scout team defense,” said Belichick. “He’d be their best rusher, he’d play middle linebacker, he’d play free safety, strong safety. [Troy] Polamalu, Ed Reed, [Dwight] Freeney — whoever we were playing, he would love to be those guys against our offense and then he’d take all the snaps on defense.”
Vrabel was named a first-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler in 2007, when the Patriots became the first team to win 18 consecutive games in one season.
“Obviously this is an unbelievable honor to be associated with the people in that Hall,” Vrabel told Kraft during the call. “And thank you. You don’t think it’s a big deal until you get called, and obviously, I’m very honored.”
At this year’s induction ceremony, Vrabel will join longtime assistant Dante Scarnecchia, who was named as a contributor by Kraft at last month’s nomination committee meeting. A date for the induction will be announced later.