NASHVILLE – Hours after offensive coordinator Todd Downing was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was not prepared to discuss the possibility of team discipline.
Vrabel addressed the incident Friday morning as part of his press conference to follow-up Thursday’s 27-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers but provided nothing specific about what took place or what might come in terms of punishment. In addition to whatever franchise officials decide, Downing also is subject to discipline from the NFL.
“I think that we’re working through all of that right now in the conversations that [general manager] Jon [Robinson] and I have had, also between us and our president Burke [Nihill],” Vrabel said. “I don’t think that we’re ready to comment on that, on what that might look like.
“[We] just remind everybody that the decisions that we have to make have to be great ones, and we’ll continue to have conversations with the league and also internally.”
Downing was arrested early Friday morning when a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer pulled him over for speeding. He was booked into Williamson County Jail at 4:36 a.m., according to reports, and released roughly two hours later after he posted a $2,500 bond.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed to Pro Football Talk on Friday that NFL policy prohibits alcohol on all team planes and busses.
NFL teams also provide all players and employees with ride sharing services upon request, whether during the season or offseason.
“We have been in contact with the Titans regarding the matter which will be reviewed,” McCarthy told PFT. “All league and club personnel, including coaches, are subject to potential discipline when a violation is determined to have been committed.”
Vrabel was asked specifically about the presence of alcohol on team flights but declined to provide a clear answer.
“We’re still gathering information on this,” he said. “I won’t be able to comment on this or what was in the past. … These are questions I won’t be able to address at this time with regard to the league process and the legal process.
“We’re very sensitive to the situation and making sure we’re doing everything we can to provide great decisions with ourselves and the community.”
Downing, 42, has been a member of the Titans’ staff since 2019 when he was hired as tight ends coach. After two seasons in that role, he was promoted to offensive coordinator when Arthur Smith left to become head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
He has worked in the NFL since he was 23 when the Minnesota Vikings hired him as an offensive analyst. Since then, he also has worked for the St, Louis Rams, Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders.
Following Thursday’s game, players are off through the weekend. The team won’t be together again until Tuesday, when it holds its first practice for a Nov. 27 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals at Nissan Stadium.
“I’ll make sure it gets addressed when we get back in here,” Vrabel said. “There’s still a lot of things that we’re working through.
“We’ll address it, and we’ll provide support as needed. And we’ll make sure that – just as always – if there’s something that needs to be held accountable, we’ll make sure that that person’s held accountable.”