Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees was refreshingly honest and candid when asked about this week’ opponent – the Baltimore Ravens.
Pees, 69, spent the last six seasons as the Ravens defensive coordinator and had retired from coaching when new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel called and asked him to “unretire” and join his first staff in Tennessee.
So as Pees prepares to go against his former team and his former players, he did away with the coach speak and said it isn’t just another game for him.
“I know guys say all the time, it’s another game. But it’s not another game,” Pee said. “First of all, we’ve got to be 4-2 to keep a lead in our division. That’s the most important thing.
“Any time you play somebody that you know and that you respect, it’s always an emotional game. It was that way when I was at Baltimore and we played New England. It’s always going to be that way. It’s like beating your brother in golf. You’d rather beat your brother than somebody you didn’t know, right? So that’s the way I look at it. I respect them, love them and I want to beat them.”
Pees said the Ravens are special to him, as he talked about his respect for the organization when speaking to reporters on Thursday.
“I have nothing but respect for the organization top to bottom. From (Stephen) Bischotti, Ozzie (Newsome) to John (Harbaugh), everybody. It’s just a great organization, always has been and I have the utmost respect for them,” he said.
Pees said early on when hired by the Titans that it was a unique opportunity for him to coach with Vrabel, whom he coached in New England. Pees also coached Harbaugh when Harbaugh was in college. That, combined with a desire to still coach, led him to Tennessee with no hard feelings from Harbaugh or the Ravens.
“We have a great relationship,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know if you know, but my senior year, he was the defensive coordinator at Miami University. I was playing then, and all through the years we’ve kind of kept our relationship going. Dean (Pees) has been a big part of my life and coaching career personally.
“It was just great to have him here when he came in 2010, I guess it was. Moving forward and becoming the defensive coordinator – he put some great defenses together. We just had a tremendous time working together. We have a great relationship. I have a ton of respect for him and he’s a great friend.”