New England Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is finally calling it a career after 34 seasons.
Scarnecchia, who was originally hired by the Patriots back in 1982, officially retired on Tuesday. The longest-tenured coach in the NFL says it felt like it was time to retire. He turns 72 years old on Feb. 14.
Scarnecchia Says ‘It’s Time’ To Walk Away
“I’m going to be 72 in a few weeks, it feels like it’s time,” Scarnecchia said, via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“You never know what to expect in this crazy business and it’s been an unbelievable four years,” Scarnecchia said. “An unbelievable career. To coach 48 seasons of football, it’s been unbelievable and I never would’ve expected anything remotely close to this. I’ve been extremely blessed for 1,000 different reasons. I’ll give you three: Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. To have those stars all in alignment, it’s been unbelievable. To just be able to share in it has been great.”
Scarnecchia had originally retired following the conclusion of the 2013 season. However, after two seasons away, Scarnecchia was lured out of retirement by Bill Belichick in 2016. The offensive line coach was one season away from tying the NFL record for most seasons spent coaching one franchise. Dick Hoak spent 35 seasons as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
To put into perspective just how many years Scarnecchia was in New England, remember that Belichick is the longest-tenured head coach in the NFL. Belichick was hired in 2000 as the head coach.
During Scarnecchia’s time in New England, Ron Meyer, Raymond Berry, Dick MacPherson, Bill Parcells, Pete Carroll and Belichick were head coaches with the Patriots.
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Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft Address Scarnecchia’s Retirement
Both Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft addressed Scarnecchia’s retirement. Needless to say, they were nothing but respectful and appreciative of his time spent in New England — which preceded both Belichick and Kraft’s tenure with the Patriots.
“It was a privilege to coach with Dante for so long,” Patriots coach 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.”
“Dante Scarnecchia has been unbelievable in every way,” Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said. “As a coach, he was extraordinarily talented at teaching his players and bringing the most out of each of them. 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.
The Patriots have seen a bit of an overhaul in their coaching staff this offseason as former wide receiver/special teams coach Joe Judge left to coach the New York Giants. Meanwhile, New England has since hired former offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and former player Vinnie Sunseri as assistant coaches.
Scarnecchia retires with 36 total seasons spent as an assistant coach and with five Super Bowl victories.