Former Patriots players and coaches who have been retired for at least four years are eligible for the team's Hall of Fame, so Mike Vrabel's clock starts now. His first year of eligibility will be 2015.
Here are some of the Patriots from that era and their years of eligibility:
Troy Brown (2012)
Tedy Bruschi (2013)
Rodney Harrison (2013)
Willie McGinest (2013)
Ty Law (2014)
Mike Vrabel (2015)
One player is elected per year and the runway is about to become a bit more crowded.
Along those lines, Patriots owner Robert Kraft shared his thoughts on Vrabel in a statement today:
"Mike Vrabel was a key contributor to the most successful era in Patriots franchise history and I will forever be grateful. His performance in Super Bowl XXXVIII was MVP worthy and his touchdowns in back-to-back Super Bowls helped us win three championships in four years. During his Patriots career, there was no player more respected for his football intellect and revered for his leadership by his teammates than Mike. He was elected a team captain by his peers and is a player who I think everyone knew was destined to become a coach after his NFL playing career was over. I am thrilled for Mike and his family that his first coaching opportunity allows him to return home to coach at his alma mater, a school that he has always passionately supported. I am sure this is a dream come true for Mike and will be the start of a long and successful coaching career at Ohio State. I know I'll be rooting for him. Mike is a true Patriot."
Also, former Patriots Vice President of Player Personnel Scott Pioli, now Chiefs general manager, shared his thoughts in a statement:
"It was an honor and a privilege to be on the same team with Mike for 10 seasons. Mike was a great college player that came into the NFL as a third-round pick and role player. Eventually, he made himself a starter and a champion. It’s no coincidence that Mike won championships everywhere he played – from his time at Ohio State to his role in division titles on three NFL teams. His genuine love for the game, his preparation, his work ethic, leadership and dependability are qualities you want from every player. He is a champion in every sense of the word and I’m confident all of these qualities will make him a great coach. I cannot overstate my respect for him as a person and a football player. If there were a Hall of Champions, Mike Vrabel would be a first ballot selection."