BOSTON (CBS) — Saturday night in Buffalo was a painful one for the Patriots. But there was at least one tender moment from the playoff loss that Patriots fans can appreciate.

In the midst of an ugly night of football, Damien Harris and running backs coach Ivan Fears had themselves a beautiful little moment on the sideline — a moment which was captured by NFL Films.

It’s unclear when exactly the exchange took place, but it seemed to come late in the game, when everyone on the Patriots knew their season was over. It showed a level of respect and love between the young running back and the veteran assistant coach.

Fears: You’re gonna have a great career. You keep that attitude, and you’re gonna have a great career.

Harris: Yessir.

Fears: You got it?

Harris: Yessir. Thank you for everything. I love you, too.

Fears: I love you, boy.

Harris: Thank you for everything.

Fears: No doubt about it. You’re a different man than you were when you walked in here, son!

Harris: Yessir, all because of you. Thank you for everything.

Fears is an essential part of the New England organization and a major contributor to “The Patriot Way” during the dynastic runs this century. He just completed his 46th coaching season — a career that includes 31 years in the NFL and 25 with the Patriots. He originally coached for the Patriots from 1991-92 as a wide receivers coach, and he returned to fill that same role from 1999-2001. He took over running backs coach duties in 2002, and he’s remained there ever since.

Bill Belichick has lost some longtime members of his staff recently in Ernie Adams and Dante Scarnecchia, and Fears could be the next to depart. The 67-year-old spoke to reporters last week, and he expressed some uncertainty about whether he’d back to coach in 2022.

“I have one plan in my mind right now, one track mind, and that’s the Buffalo Bills and this playoff game. After that, who knows?” Fears said. “Hopefully we’ll be still playing and that’s what it’s all about. I am not thinking about anything else, nor planning anything else at this time.”

Whether or not Fears returns, he’s already played an instrumental role in the lives and careers of countless players over the past two decades. The brief exchange with Harris captured on camera shows just how much he has meant to those players.

CBSBoston.com Staff