BOSTON (CBS) — Ernie Adams is calling it a career.

The Patriots’ longtime football research director and right-hand man of Bill Belichick will be leaving his position for good. ESPN’s Mike Reiss shared a succinct message from Adams on Twitter, in which Adams said his time working for the Patriots has come to an end.

“The last 21 seasons with the New England Patriots have been extraordinary for me,” Adams said. “I am fortunate to have been part of a team along with Bill Belichick, outstanding colleagues, patient owners, and a lot of great players. It is time for me to stop working and join the many wonderful fans who have been with us for this run.”

Adams has gained a cult following of sorts for his mysterious role behind the scenes. While his exact day-to-day duties were never laid out for public consumption, it is known that Adams had the full trust and respect of Belichick.

The two met in high school, at Phillips Academy in Andover, when Adams told Belichick that he had read his father’s book on football scouting. Adams entered the NFL with the Patriots in 1975 before reconnecting with Belichick in New York in 1979. When Belichick became the head coach of the Browns, he hired Adams. And when Belichick became the head coach of the Patriots in 2000, one of his first moves was to hire Adams. He’s been with the team ever since, contributing to six Super Bowl victories along the way.

Belichick capped off this year’s draft by giving Adams the honor of making the team’s final selection. Adams selected wide receiver Tre Nixon from Central Florida, hoping to hit again on a seventh-round receiver, like he did with David Givens in 2002.

“I think Ernie’s contributions are, you know, historic and, again, they traverse several decades and in so many different areas, I mean, in every corner of the room and then some,” Belichick said on Saturday. “He’s literally been involved in every single aspect of the football program at every level that you could possibly be involved in, and he’s done an outstanding job in all of them.”

CBSBoston.com Staff