The Patriots will lose their acclaimed offensive line coach to another retirement. After Dante Scarnecchia‘s return from his previous retirement coincided with three straight Patriots Super Bowls, the 72-year-old assistant will step away again, he confirmed Tuesday (via ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss). Former Patriots tight end Christian Fauria, now with WEEI, was the first to report of Scarnecchia’s intention to retire again.
Scarnecchia initially retired after the 2013 season but was coaxed back to the sidelines in 2016. The Patriots perennially field one of the league’s top offensive lines, and their longtime staffer’s presence was certainly no coincidence in that trend. Despite center David Andrews missing the entire season and left tackle Isaiah Wynn out for much of it, Scarnecchia’s latest group rated in the top 10 in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards and pass-protection metrics.
While Scarnecchia’s second stint in New England helped the franchise secure its fifth and sixth championships, he spent 34 years on the Pats’ staff. Scarnecchia was a Patriots assistant for 10 of their 11 Super Bowl appearances and 48 of the team’s 59 playoff games, beginning his run with the team in 1982. After a brief stay as the Colts’ O-line coach (from 1989-90, following former Pats coach Ron Meyer to Indianapolis), Scarnecchia spent most of the 1990s as the Pats’ special teams coordinator. He began serving as their offensive line coach in 1999 and held that job for the better part of the next 20 years.
“It was a privilege to coach with Dante for so long,” Bill Belichick said. “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.”
Belichick is one of six Patriots HCs with whom Scarnecchia has worked. The Pats replaced Scarnecchia with Dave DeGuglielmo during his 2014-15 sabbatical and will again have to fill some big shoes in filling their 2020 staff.
This also marks the latest veteran coach to leave New England. The Pats lost longtime defensive assistants Matt Patricia and Brian Flores over the previous two offseasons and lost multiple offensive assistants when Flores took the Dolphins’ HC job. While Tom Brady‘s status looms as the top Patriots uncertainty heading into next season, Belichick will need to make a key hire to replace one of the few organizational fixtures whose New England arrival predates Brady’s.
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