Mike Vrabel and Jon Robinson talk Ryan Tannehill and Tom Brady at combine

INDIANAPOLIS – The Titans beat the Patriots in 2018 and when New England came to Nashville for joint training camp sessions the next summer as the reigning Super Bowl champions, Tom Brady brought his friend Mike Vrabel a present.

A tiny trophy denoting that regular-season the win.VrabelCombine2020Radio

Asked at the NFL scouting combine Tuesday about his relationship with Brady, a good friend since 2001, Vrabel added in the Titans wild card-round win at New England in 2019.

“Undefeated,” he said. “I’m hoping for a bigger trophy this year.”

The biggest trophy could be Brady himself, slated to become a free agent for the first time in his 20-year career on March 18.

Vrabel and Brady are pals who were part of a group that went to the Kentucky Derby together last year, which left me wondering, what if the friends wanted to meet in Columbus to watch their alma maters -- Michigan and Ohio State and both top 25 programs -- square off in a college basketball game on Sunday.BradyWindup

“I would have no idea if my interaction with Tom, a friend for 20 years, would be considered tampering,” Vrabel said while visiting with Chad Withrow, Jonathan Hutton and I on The Midday 180. “I guess only if we talked about something that would tamper.”

Oh, for such a get-together.

Earlier, asked about the idea of Brady in a different uniform, Vrabel said: “Tom's a teammate, a former teammate. He's a friend. He'll always be a friend. I know with like a lot of people, he'll do what's best for him and his family. Whatever that may be, I'm not sure.”

The Titans 2020 plan at quarterback is unclear. Ryan Tannehill was excellent after he took over for Marcus Mariota in Week 7, and he too is heading for free agency. The Titans could choose to put a franchise or transition tag on him. (If there is no new CBA, they will be able to use both; if there is a new deal, only one.)

Do the Titans stick with Tannehill and at what price? Do they backchannel with Brady to know they are in front of the line for an alternative who’s won six Super Bowls?

Both Vrabel and Jon Robinson’s comments on Tannehill’s future seemed tepid.

"He came in in a tough situation, led our football team," Vrabel said. "All those players that have expiring contracts … That's Jon's job and my job to help put our football team together. We continue to have those conversations.”

Do you want (Tannehill) to be your starter, came the follow-up question.

“I want all our really good players all to come back. That's how that goes.”apple icon 144x144 precomposed

“We’ll see how it goes,” Robinson said in his press conference. “He’s under contract for the next few weeks. He did a great job for us. We’ll start those talks and see kind of where those go, just like all the players.”

I understand the Titans don’t like to single people out, but the quarterback is not like all the players and Robinson spoke more warmly about Derrick Henry, also a pending free agent.

“We’re going to work through that one,” he said after lauding his football and community contributions, “and do everything we can to try to keep him around.”

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