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Titans DC Dean Pees retires after 16 seasons in NFL

Dean Pees' Super Bowl title-winning NFL career has come to an end.

The Titans defensive coordinator announced his retirement Monday.

"It is for real," Pees said of his retirement. "If I wanted to continue coaching it would be here. We've got a great staff, really enjoyed the guys, great working for [head coach] Mike [Vrabel], I love our players. I'm done coaching."

Pees was already beginning his retirement when Vrabel was hired as Titans head coach in 2018. That didn't last long. Vrabel said Monday his second phone call placed after he was hired was to Pees to get him to come to Tennessee to coordinate the Titans' defense.

"It wasn't a hard sell when he got me out of retirement because of who Mike is," Pees said of Vrabel's pitch to him in 2018. "How he was as a player, I knew how the success he'd have as a coach. It was my honor to be able to work for him for the last two years."

Tennessee finished as the No. 3 defense in terms of opposing points scored in 2018 and 12th in 2019, recording 40 takeaways combined between the two seasons under Pees. The unit's five takeaways logged in Tennessee's first two playoff games this season helped propel the Titans to an unlikely run to the AFC Championship Game before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Pees' NFL career spanned 16 seasons with three teams: the New England Patriots (2004-2009), Baltimore Ravens (2010-2017) and Titans. During that stretch, Pees won two Super Bowls: XXXIX with New England and XLVII with Baltimore.

Prior to making the jump to the pros, Pees spent 25 seasons coaching in a variety of roles in the college ranks at Findlay, Miami (Ohio), Navy, Toledo, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Kent State, where he served as head coach from 1998-2003. It was after he was fired from Kent State that he made the leap to New England, kicking off his NFL run.

The 70-year-old Pees spent 47 years coaching football at all levels, working on staffs led by venerated coaches Nick Saban, Lou Holtz, Bill Belichick and John Harbaugh. He closed his career Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

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