Titans head coach Mike Vrabel Dec 31, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel looks on during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL coaching carousel came and went, many were surprised that former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel didn’t get hired elsewhere.

Vrabel, the 2021 NFL Coach of the Year, spent six seasons with the Titans and compiled a 54-45 record and three playoff appearances, reportedly interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers but both teams obviously went in another direction.

While it’s still possible that Vrabel snatches up a defensive coordinator job in the NFL, Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell made it known Thursday that his ex-Ohio State Buckeyes teammate and best friend is welcome around the Badgers “as much as possible,” per ESPN’s Pete Thamel.

“I love Mike and want him around as much as possible,” Fickell said. “I want to see how much he’d like to be around, in the spring for sure. And we’ll go from there.”

In addition to playing together at Ohio State in the 1990s, the pair were both on the Buckeyes’ coaching staff from 2011-13, as Fickell was interim head coach following Jim Tressel’s resignation and then demoted to co-defensive coordinator after Ohio State hired Urban Meyer. Vrabel, then fresh off the conclusion of a 13-year NFL career, joined Ohio State as a linebackers coach and then was named the defensive line coach for the 2012 and 2013 seasons before leaving his alma mater for a coaching position with the Houston Texans.