Dean Pees Says He Wasn't 'Forced to Retire' and Ravens Offered an Extension

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Former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees held his first press conference as a Tennessee Titan Wednesday. As he stepped up to the microphone, a reporter joked, "How'd you enjoy retirement?"

"Both weeks of it?" Pees responded.

Since Pees retired, then unretired two weeks later to take the same position elsewhere, people have been scratching their heads wondering exactly what happened.

"There's been a lot of speculation, as I would expect there to be, after all of a sudden you change your mind after a couple weeks," Pees said.

Pees spent eight years in Baltimore leading a defense that largely remained the team's calling card. He considered retiring after the 2016 season, but came back for another year. Last offseason, the Ravens bolstered an already very good unit in free agency and the draft.

It finished 12th in the NFL in yards allowed, sixth in scoring and let a couple crucial leads slip through its fingers down the stretch in losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals.

But Pees was not pushed out, and he made that clear.

"I was offered by John to come back – an extension on my contract – so I wasn't forced to retire," Pees said.

"I want to be very clear. My eight years in Baltimore were fantastic. They could not have treated me any better. I loved working for John Harbaugh."

Pees reiterated what he said in Baltimore soon after the season ended. He was going to retire after 45 years in coaching to spend more time with his family of six kids and 12 grandkids.

What he didn't expect, however, was how much he would immediately miss the game. What he really didn't expect was how much they would miss it.

"The truth of it is I didn't really quite foresee after about two weeks, I was already ready to come back and thought, 'Did I really do the right thing?'" Pees said.

"What was really maybe even more important was I didn't understand how it affected my wife and my kids and my grandkids. After that being such a big part of your life for 45 years and all that time, they were kind of depressed."

Pees was offered the job from new Tennessee Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel on the Friday after retiring. Pees and his wife, Melody, stayed up till 3 a.m. discussing it. She may have been even more excited than him, Pees said.

Pees has a close relationship with Vrabel, who he coached in New England. Pees coached Harbaugh in college at Miami (Ohio) and thought it was unique to work for him in the NFL. Now he gets to have a similar experience with Vrabel.

"No. 1 was Mike. Mike convinced me," Pees said. "I felt really humbled that a guy that I coached would ask me to come back and be an assistant here."

Pees said he feels like the Titans are an organization on the rise and that following legendary Defensive Coordinator Dick Labeau means he's inheriting well-coached players.

Pees also said he and his wife have always loved Nashville whenever they've visited. The Ravens played in Nashville last season. They plan on buying a house in the area.

The fact that Pees' son, Matt, was hired as a defensive quality control coach, had nothing to do with the decision, Pees said. Pees had already accepted the job before bringing up his son as a possible hire.

So how long will Pees coach in Nashville? He signed a multi-year contract.

"It's as if I didn't retire," Pees said. "I'm here until Mike doesn't want me here anymore or whatever. I do not plan on making this a [one]-year deal at all."

Last Friday, Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti said he was a "little shocked" that Pees came out of retirement.

"I wish Dean all the luck," Bisciotti said. "It's hard to give it up, I guess."

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