I've come up with another Mike Vrabel memory -- the first offseason.
So Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Vrabel (and QB Matt Cassel) to Kansas City at the end of February right as the league year was opening. We heard all these great things about Vrabel and how he was a consummate pro and how the younger Chiefs would benefit from him.
And then he didn't show up for a few weeks. The Chiefs held voluntary offeseason workouts and Vrabel didn't attend those making plenty of folks believe he simply didn't want to be in Kansas City. We're not sure if that was the case but the impression was created that, after the trade to KC, Vrabel wasn't happy. For his part, Todd Haley didn't seem to mind saying Vrabel would be there when he gets there so that would suggest there was some communication between the two as to what was going on.
That lead some, like me, to wonder if he would come to KC, collect his paycheck and go home without making an impact on the team. It was fair to think that because he was an older player going from Super Bowls to....a 2-14 team.
Turns out, I was completely wrong. Once he showed up, he was all-in. He quickly became a vocal leader on the team, which Haley noted time and time again, and he even went on to be named a team captain. From a leadership standpoint, he quickly became everything those around him in New England said he would be.
We talk about how first impressions matter -- and they do -- but with Vrabel the first impression didn't give us an accurate gauge of what would his value would be to this team over the last two years.