It was 10 days before Christmas 2013, and Raekwon McMillan had quite the house guest: a three-time Super Bowl champion.
McMillan, a five-star linebacker from Hinesville, Georgia, was weighing nearly two-dozen scholar offers when Urban Meyer and his staff rolled in.
In the Ohio State entourage?
Mike Vrabel, the Patriots star-turned-Buckeyes assistant.
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Vrabel’s message to the 18-year-old recruit?
“Ohio State was the best place for me as a linebacker,” McMillan said, “but he probably wasn’t going to be there long.”
Vrabel was right on both counts. A few weeks later, he was named the Houston Texans’ linebackers coach.
But his message sunk in. A day later, McMillan committed to Ohio State, where he won a national championship and had an all-conference career.
On Sunday, they will be reunited, albeit as adversaries — McMillan as the Dolphins’ starting middle linebacker, and Vrabel as the Titans’ head coach.
“Unbelievable human being,” Vrabel said of McMillan. “Unbelievable leader. Happy to see him healthy again. No different than seeing Ryan Shazier last year. This is kind of where — and coming from college — where you coached Joey Bosas and Shazier, where these guys are in the NFL, guys you recruited are coming into the NFL. It’s kind of crazy to see. It will be good to see Raekwon. Haven’t seen him in a while. But we all have a job to do.”
Added McMillan, who will make his NFL debut Sunday after missing his entire rookie season with a torn ACL: “I’m definitely going to chop it up with him, and Coach Coombs too. Coach Coombs was our old DB coach at Ohio State. It’ll be good to chop it up with them.”
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