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Bill Belichick strongly recommended Mike Vrabel to Chip Kelly

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The San Francisco 49ers search for a defensive coordinator continues along, but there is an interesting tidbit about Mike Vrabel worth a note. Vrabel was offered the job, but turned it down to remain in Houston as linebackers coach.

There has been speculation about whether or not Bill Belichick suggested Vrabel not take the job, and instead wait to take over for Romeo Crennel in Houston or an opportunity in New England. Albert Breer's weekend notebook says that Bill Belichick gave Vrabel a strong recommendation to Chip Kelly:

Mike Vrabel turned down an offer to become 49ers defensive coordinator on Thursday, but just getting the invitation after his fifth year as a coach (second in the NFL) is pretty remarkable. And his value to Kelly in San Francisco would've gone well beyond calling the defense. In three years at Ohio State, Vrabel emerged as the program's top recruiter. In two years in Houston, his ability to get more out of players has been noted. The tie here? He can command a group and draw respect from everyone. After Kelly's experience in Philly, it's fair to see where a unifying force like Vrabel might've been a game changer. Conversely, my sense is the decision for Vrabel (who was strongly recommended to Kelly by his former coach, Bill Belichick) was a tough one, and as much about family and loyalty to Bill O'Brien as anything. He'll return to Houston as a) a possible heir to current DC Romeo Crennel and b) a potentially hot coordinator candidate for the next coaching carousel in 2017.

I have heard that family played a role in the decision, but it is important to note that Houston pushed hard and gave him a raise. I imagine once Houston offered the raise, and knowing there would be more opportunities in the future, it became a slightly easier decision.

Pats Pulpit has an interesting discussion of this news, with the Belichick/Mangini relationship further discussed. Belichick and Mangini had a strong relationship, but when Mangini went to the New York Jets, things appeared to break down. It's an interesting angle on the 49ers search for a defensive coordinator.