NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Holding a guitar presented by Titans great and Ohio State teammate Eddie George, Mike Vrabel pledged hard work and got a huge ovation Saturday night at Opryland.

VrabelStage

“I appreciate this, this is an amazing opportunity, I’m humbled by this opportunity,” Vrabel said at the end of a program that ran about two hours. “I’m going to give you everything I’ve got, the guys that we’ve hired are going to give you everything that they’ve got and I know you’re going to be proud of the players.”

At an event that was scheduled to include 8,000 season ticket holders, Mike Keith served as master of ceremonies on a stage draped with navy curtains on which white stars were projected and scaffolding was lit in red.

Amy Adams Strunk, Jon Robinson,  Vrabel and Dean Pees all spoke along with George, Taylor Lewan and Kevin Byard.

But Vrabel was the clear headliner and he was fired up that the crowd was so fired up when he was introduced. As he talked with Keith he threw out a “Titan Up” after an answer got a good reaction.

Later he said the slogan will have a lot of meaning for his version of the Titans.

“You better be a competitive SOB and you better be tough,” he said to raucous applause.

He said he hired his offensive coordinator because it was time for Matt LaFleur to call plays and he talked through how Pees always had him prepared as a coach.

“If you want to be a good coach, get players like Kevin Byard and Taylor Lewan. That’s the secret to good coaching, get good players," he said. “...Our guys will be great players, but they will be better teammates.”

Titans 20th Season LogoThe Titans unveiled a 20th anniversary logo they hope to wear as a small sticker on the back of their helmets this season. 

Robinson said he’s most proud of the buy-in the team’s gotten from players.

The GM spoke of how every time he walks out of the tunnel at Nissan Stadium, he gets chill bumps and the hair on back of his neck go.

As he left the stage a “Go Titans, go” chant broke out.

The Titans gave away a trip to its October game against the Chargers in London and to the draft in Arlington, Texas (though Robinson insisted he will do all the heavy lifting with the team’s picks) as well as jerseys signed by Lewan and Byard. Twenty fans were selected to get the teams new jerseys right after the team unveils them on Broadway on April 4th in an event that will feature a Florida Georgia Line concert.

Pees called Vrabel “the smartest football player I’ve ever coached, ever.” Robinson characterized Vrabel as a team-first guy, who’s extremely intelligent, with a ton of juice who’s going to bring the team a ton of energy.

And in a video produced by the team, former Ohio State coach John Cooper said Vrabel was “probably the most competitive football player I ever coached.”

George also gushed about his fellow Buckeye as he presented him with the guitar.

“I’ve worked with him in college, competed against him in gassers, in weightlifting, certainly in the NFL: You are the perfect man for the job,” Eddie George told Vrabel before joking that the new coach needed to lead the crowd in a song.

Aside from ridiculous traffic leading to Opryland and sound system issues, it was a solid event that served its purpose in getting core fans excited.

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