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By LARRY VAUGHT
Vince Marrow did not take the traditional route to coaching in the Southeastern Conference.
The Kentucky tight ends coach was a graduate assistant at Nebraska for two years prior to joining Mark Stoops’ staff at UK. But he also spent six years coaching professional football in NFL Europe and the United Football League. Marrow began his coaching career in NFL Europe, coaching tackles and tight ends with the Rhein Fire in Düsseldorf, Germany, from 2006-07 before coaching tight ends with the Berlin Thunder from 2005-06.
“I think what people don’t understand about NFL Europe is that it was just like coaching in the NFL,” said Marrow. “I coached with a lot of guys that were coordinators and head coaches in the NFL and college. I went right into pro ball after playing instead of college coaching.”
Marrow played for five NFL teams — Buffalo, Carolina, New York Jets, Chicago and San Francisco — before joining the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe in 1998, earning all-league honors with 32 receptions for 345 yards. He also played for the Orlando Rage in the XFL in 2000.
“There ain’t an offense or defense I have not seen,” Marrow said. “Dealing with players from different backgrouns and nationalities in Europe helped prepare me for how to go in and get insight on what a player is. I also think coaching in NFL Europe made me a good recruiter. It taught me how to deal with players, including some who did not even speak English. You had others who were allocated by NFL clubs who are trying to revive their careers.
“I loved NFL Europe. I had college offers from good colleges, but I liked it there. You only worked four months and then I could watch my son, Michael, and his career. I really loved NFL Europe. It had some of the best coaching minds in the world. You had to learn how to adapt to the talent and get into the minds of different type players.”
He still remembers when receiver Lance Moore played for him in Europe. Now he’s a premier receiver and favorite target of New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees.
“On the flip side, you get older guys trying to go back to the NFL. Maybe they are four- or five-year veterans and got injured or waived,” Marrow said. “They have to show they can still do it.
“NFL Europe was a step over Alabama. It was just a step under the NFL. It was run like the NFL. You had a lot of smart coaches there. I just think the dynamics and diversity of the people and job made me the guy and coach I am today.”