Bill Belichick has long expressed respect and admiration for Greg Schiano, and this was the year the two were finally going to work together, with Schiano on Belichick’s staff as defensive coordinator.
That arrangement didn’t last until April.
In surprising news, Schiano stepped down as Patriots defensive coordinator.
"I have informed Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Coach Belichick that I am stepping down from my position at the Patriots,” Schiano said in a statement. “This is not the result of any one event, but rather a realization that I need to spend more time on my faith and family. I don’t want to look back years from now and wish I had done things differently. Therefore, I am taking time away from the game to recalibrate my priorities."
Greg Schiano unexpectedly steps down
There’s certainly going to be some skepticism about why Schiano stepped down, but Belichick included a quote in the announcement of the move.
"I respect Coach Schiano greatly and appreciate his contributions to our staff and team,” Belichick said in the statement. “He is a friend who we support completely."
It seems like this was totally unexpected.
Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal tweeted on Thursday afternoon that Belichick had recorded a segment for SiriusXM in which he talked about Schiano being “a great addition.” Daniels tweeted that two hours before the news broke that Schiano was stepping down.
Schiano, an unpopular figure during his time as Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, wasn’t retained as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator after last season. That allowed him to join Belichick in New England, after Brian Flores left to become the Miami Dolphins’ new head coach.
That didn’t last long.
What will the Patriots do next?
The timing isn’t great for the Patriots. Coaching staffs were filled long ago. There isn’t going to be a great candidate among coaches who want to be in the NFL but don’t have a job now. It’s not easy to fill that spot, and the Patriots might need to do it internally.
The Patriots haven’t had the best offseason. Rob Gronkowski retired. They lost some key free agents. Now their new defensive coordinator is gone.
New England seems to find a way to win no matter what, but there are some new challenges this time around.
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