Third-year Ohio State defensive line coach Mike Vrabel is jumping back to the NFL to rejoin new Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien.
Vrabel, who starred at Walsh Jesuit High School and Ohio State and went on to a 14-year career in the NFL, will coach linebackers, he confirmed in a post on Twitter.
“I am thankful for everyone assoc with TOSU for 3 great years and my family and I are excited to join the Houston Texans as the LB coach,” he posted early Thursday night.
O’Brien, the head coach at Penn State the past two years, had been a top assistant with the New England Patriots in 2007-08 when Vrabel was a player. Vrabel won three Super Bowls with the Patriots.
Vrabel was one of the top recruiters for coach Urban Meyer. Joey Bosa, a freshman defensive end, was recruited by Vrabel and developed into a starter this past season.
Meyer did not have an immediate comment.
Vrabel becomes the second defensive coach to leave the Buckeyes in recent weeks. Everett Withers, co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach/safeties left to take the head coaching position at James Madison last month.
The Buckeyes went 12-2 this past season, running their school-record winning streak to 24 games in a row before losing their final two games, 34-24 to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game and 40-34 to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Redskins hire Gruden
Jay Gruden has his first NFL head coaching gig, charged with ending the perpetual state of turmoil that has become the Washington Redskins.
He was hired Thursday after spending the last three seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, where his skill in helping to develop Andy Dalton will no doubt be of use when he takes on the task of grooming another young franchise quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
Gruden, 46, replaces Mike Shanahan, who was fired last week after a 3-13 season.
Giants back needs surgery
New York Giants top running back David Wilson needs neck surgery and his future in football is uncertain.
New York’s first-round draft pick in 2012, Wilson was hurt on Oct. 6 after being tackled coming out of his own end zone.
Wilson will have a fusion of the vertebrae to repair the herniated disc in his neck. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Frank Cammisa at the Hospital of Special Surgery on Jan. 16.
“You have to look at him differently, because he’s got the whole neck issue hovering over him right now,” Giants General Manager Jerry Reese said. “So he’s got to come back and be healthy, No. 1. He’s planning to have surgery, and we’ll see how that comes out. Our medical staff feels like he’ll be ready to play this fall, but the neck and back — that’s pretty tricky.”
Around the league
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said his injured left knee isn’t coming along quite as well as he’d hoped. Smith practiced for the second consecutive day on a limited basis. … Wide receiver Percy Harvin will play for the Seattle Seahawks in Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints after missing most of the season following hip surgery. … Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery is headed to his first Pro Bowl, replacing injured Detroit star Calvin Johnson.