Vrabel on Titans firing GM: Have to move forward

NFL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since general manager Jon Robinson was fired and said it’s important for the organization to move forward.

Vrabel said he was informed of Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk’s decision to fire Robinson, which was made without his input. He thanked Robinson for giving him the opportunity to coach.

“Change is never easy but we realize that we all have a job to do,” Vrabel said. “It’s evaluated every day. I told the team and all of the staff this. We all have a personal relationship with Jon in some capacity. But personal feelings aren’t important. We need to respect and understand the decision and move forward aligned.”

Vrabel said that he and Robinson were aligned in their approach to building the roster and appreciated how the general manager included the coaching staff in the evaluation process. But Vrabel’s comments before the Titans’ decision to trade wide receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles on draft day would indicate otherwise. Vrabel denied rumors that Tennessee was looking to trade Brown, saying the young receiver wouldn’t be dealt as long as he was the head coach.

Robinson’s firing came days after Brown recorded seven receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans on Sunday. Brown said Wednesday he didn’t have a reaction to Robinson’s firing.

“After the game, it was over,” Brown said. “I just put it behind me. What happens in Tennessee is in Tennessee. It doesn’t bother me anymore. I don’t put any thought to it.”

Firing Robinson was about more than just the Brown trade. But failing to retain Brown, the most productive receiver the Titans have had in years, had a lot to do with it the disappointment the organization has in the roster.

“We made a decision that we felt was in the best interest of the football team,” Vrabel said. “A.J. is in Philadelphia and we’re moving forward.”

Vice president of player personnel Ryan Cowden was selected to oversee the Titans’ personnel department for the remainder of the season. Vrabel wouldn’t discuss whether he will have more say over personnel decisions, including naming the next general manager, now or in the future.

According to Vrabel, Adams Strunk will have the final say in any personnel decisions, especially if there’s a disagreement between him and Cowden. In the meantime, Vrabel will continue to communicate with Cowden regarding the active roster and players returning from injury.

ESPN’s Tim McManus contributed to this report.

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