BOSTON (CBS) — With all of New England (and most of the football world) concerned with the uncertain football future of Tom Brady, a different yet significant change may be coming in Foxboro.
Namely, longtime Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia has retired. The Patriots announced Scarnecchia’s retirement early Tuesday evening.
“It was a privilege to coach with Dante for so long,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in a release announcing the news. “I knew that long before his initial retirement and throughout a second act of continued excellence. Dante is among the very best assistant coaches ever.”
“Dante Scarnecchia has been unbelievable in every way. As a coach, he was extraordinarily talented at teaching his players and bringing the most out of each of them,” Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said. “Dante put everything he had into helping his players achieve their maximum potential — the mark of a great coach. His contributions to our team and to the game of football are unprecedented over the last four decades. Yet even more remarkable is the impact Dante has had on countless players, coaches and staff members who have walked through our doors. He modeled the principles he believed in through his hard work, diligence and integrity. He held himself accountable. He trained alongside his players. He treated everyone with respect. There truly is no way to sum up the incredible career he’s had, the positive impact he’s made on our franchise or how much he will be missed. We are forever grateful for Dante and wish him the absolutely best in his next chapter, along with his lovely wife Susan and his family. The New England Patriots are better because of Dante Scarnecchia, and he will always have a home with us.”
WEEI’s Christian Fauria, who first reported the news on Tuesday, added that Scarnecchia’s replacement will likely come from the Patriots’ existing coaching staff. He speculated that assistant running backs coach Cole Popovich could get the job. Fauria, though, curbed that suggestion as just a “hunch.”
Carmen Bricillo, who coached the offensive line at Youngstown State before joining the Patriots last year, is also on New England’s staff.
Scarnecchia, who will turn 72 years old next month, just completed his 48th season in coaching, 36 of which were in the NFL and 34 of which came in New England.
Scarnecchia originally joined the Patriots in 1982 under head coach Ron Meyer, when he coached the tight ends and special teams for seven seasons. He rejoined the Patriots in 1991 and aside from a temporary retirement from 2014-15, he’s been with the team since. During that time, he’s been a special assistant, defensive assistant, linebackers coach, special teams coach, offensive line coach and assistant head coach. He’s been a part of five Super Bowl-winning seasons.