Opinion: Tennessee Titans keeping New England Patriots' spirit alive and well during surprise playoff run

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Mike Vrabel patiently waited by the entrance of the Tennessee Titans locker room Saturday night in Baltimore, issuing hugs, fist bumps, edifying words, trash talk — or some combination thereof — to every one of his triumphant players and staff members as they came off the M&T Bank Stadium field.

Vrabel finally embraced Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry, the last straggler following some post-game obligations after his 195-yard night helped stake the Ravens 28-12 in a divisional-round playoff shocker, before the coach and his star entered the sanctum to join a raucous celebration.

With his face and neck stained by players’ eye black after so many bear hugs, Vrabel hardly resembled his former boss, Bill Belichick.

And yet Vrabel’s current team, on its way to the AFC championship game in Kansas City, evokes memories of the nascent New England dynasty he helped establish nearly two decades ago when he was a linebacking linchpin. Few were talking about the 11-5 Patriots as Super Bowl…

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