BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots have reportedly added Vinnie Sunseri to their staff, which shouldn’t be a big surprise when you look at the 26-year-old’s resume. The former safety checks all the boxes for Bill Belichick.
First, Sunseri played for Belichick’s good friend Nick Saban for three years at Alabama, winning a pair of national championships with the Crimson Tide. And when his days in the NFL were over, Sunseri returned to his alma mater as a graduate assistant last year.
Sunseri should know his way around Gillette Stadium, as the Patriots gave him a shot at a roster spot in 2016. He didn’t earn it in training camp, but was brought back as a member of the Patriots practice squad for a few months that year. He never played for the Patriots in 2016, but he does have a few NFL games under his belt. After being drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, he played in nine games for the New Orleans Saints, with most of his snaps coming on special teams. After he was released from the Patriots practice squad on Oct. 24, 2016, he joined the San Francisco 49ers practice squad the following week. He was promoted to the active roster on Nov. 22, and saw action in six games for the 49ers.
There’s no word on what role Sunseri will take on the New England staff, but given his experience on special teams, that is a likely landing spot. The Patriots no longer have a special teams coach after Joe Judge’s departure for the New York Giants, and if last year’s assistant special teams coach Cam Achord is promoted to fill Judge’s role, Sunseri could take over Achord’s old gig.
Matt Zenitz of AL.com was first to report Sunseri’s hiring on Tuesday.