Mike Vrabel loves football. During our time in New England together, the one thing that always stood out to me was his passion for the game.
But I'll never forget the moment I knew Mike was 100 percent going into coaching.
We were coming home from a Patriots road trip in Kansas City. His son was playing Pee Wee football, and Mike was the coach. This is pretty late after our game, and he’s on the phone with another dad on the team.
These kids are seven, maybe eight years old. And he’s telling this dad, "We’ve got to be better at the end of the line of scrimmage on the defensive side! We’ve got to set the edge in the run game! The interior guys, look, we can set up some stunts!"
I’m sure the guy on the other end of the line had no idea what he was saying. I’m sitting there laughing, and I go, "That guy has no idea what you’re talking about! What are you doing right now?"
You'd have to have a great understanding defensive football and line play to understand what Mike was saying, and he’s just breaking it down to this poor dad who probably decided to help coach on a whim.
I was just sitting there going, "What are you doing? It’s nine o’clock at night and you're telling this guy about defensive front structure?"
But that love of football was just in him. It’s been in him since the time I played with him, and everybody else who played with him would probably say the same thing.
They always knew he was going to become a coach when he was done playing. That’s just who he was and the type of player he was.
Editor's Note: Matt Cassel played 14 years in the NFL as a quarterback, including four with the Patriots from 2005 to 2008. He serves as an analyst for NBC Sports Boston, appearing on Pre/Postgame Live, as a guest on Tom Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast every Thursday, and as a columnist each week during the season.