According to multiple reports Monday night, former Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees has been hired to become the new defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. This hiring came as a surprise given that Pees announced his retirement just four weeks ago.
Pees coming out of retirement to take the job certainly raises a lot of questions, none bigger than simply, why? Why did Dean Pees come out of retirement, and come out so soon at that?
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun tweeted on Saturday, 1/27/18, that Pees has ties to Mike Vrabel, the new head coach in Tennessee.
One interesting name I’m hearing for Titans defensive coordinator vacancy is former Ravens DC Dean Pees. Pees announced retirement following end of season but he has a relationship with Mike Vrabel dating back to New England. Not sure how likely it is but it’s been discussed— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) January 27, 2018
Zrebiec then followed up this tweet with a new report yesterday that momentum was building for Pees to head to Tennessee as the defensive coordinator.
Momentum continues to build for Dean Pees to join Mike Vrabel's staff, potentially as defensive coordinator. But nothing close to final yet. Discussions continue. https://t.co/XDzuQfmMJS— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) January 28, 2018
Ultimately, Pees was hired for the position on Monday night. In addition to the hiring of Pees, the Titans also hired his son, Matt, to come on staff.
Titans are hiring briefly retired Ravens DC Dean Pees as DC, a source confirmed to ESPN. He's expected to have his son, Matt Pees, a HC at Green Mountain HS in Colo., is expected to join him. The school announced the hire. https://t.co/rivaad7LVP— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) January 30, 2018
The connections Pees has with Vrabel and the ability to coach with his son on staff certainly appears to be the leading factors in Pees’ decision to come out of retirement.
Though despite all of that, Pees did say that he wanted to walk away from the NFL in good health. Bo Smolka of PressBox tweeted that Pees mentioned the passing of former Ravens assistant coach Clarence Brooks as a factor in his retirement decision. He also said he wanted to spend more time with his family. His son is on the staff, but Pees also talked about his grandkids and other relatives. Four weeks later, Pees is once again a defensive coordinator in the NFL, 700 miles away from M&T Bank Stadium. Was the connection to Vrabel and the ability to coach with his son that strong of a sales pitch?
Though while the connections to the Titans seem clear, speculation about his exit from Baltimore arises. The defense collapsed in Pittsburgh, costing the Ravens a win, and it collapsed against Cincinnati, costing the Ravens a playoff spot. Granted, it was known Pees planned to retire before the Bengals game, though it hadn’t been officially announced.
While it is nothing more than speculation at this point, it’s fair to wonder whether Pees did really plan to retire, of if there was any force pushing him out of Baltimore. The defense and the offense both had stretches where they played well, though it never seemed to happen at the same time. In the most important moments of the season, it was the offense that showed up and the defense that faltered. Being that this is the second year in a row that this took place, could the Ravens have forced him out, while having him retire so they didn’t have to fire him? Is that possible? Maybe, but again, any and all of this is nothing more than speculation and/or conspiracy theory.
Pees now heads to the Titans to become the defensive coordinator in an intriguing plot twist. This hiring has raised many questions, questions we may never have answered.