Greg Schiano’s stint with the Patriots lasted short of two months.
The team unexpectedly announced Thursday that Schiano, who was hired to be the next defensive coordinator, has resigned from his position.
“I have informed Mr. (Robert) Kraft and Coach (Bill) 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.”
Belichick offered a statement, as well.
“I respect Coach Schiano greatly and appreciate his contributions to our staff and team,” Belichick said. “He is a friend who we support completely.”
Schiano was brought on staff after Super Bowl LIII as the replacement for defensive playcaller Brian Flores, who left for the head coaching job with the Dolphins. Schiano was spotted with the Patriots at the NFL combine earlier this month. His hiring was never officially announced by the team.
The Patriots have not publicized the additions to their coaching staff.
Schiano’s departure comes as a surprise. In a taped interview for Sirius XM’s Basketball & Beyond with Coach K set to air Thursday night, Belichick described the impact of the Schiano addition.
“We’ve added Coach Schiano to our defensive staff,” Belichick said. “He’s a very experienced and outstanding fundamental coach, good teacher, and has a lot of experience in both the college and the pro game. He coached a lot of our players. We have quite a few guys from Rutgers and I think he could be a great addition too.”
Schiano has long been connected to Belichick. He coached Belichick’s son, Steve, at Rutgers, which became a pipeline to Foxboro. The Patriots currently have three former Rutgers players — Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, and Duron Harmon — in their defensive backfield. Schiano posted a a 68-67 record before taking the head coaching job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. He was fired after two seasons, finishing with an 11-21 record.
Schiano, 52, spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. He was nearly hired as the head coach at the University of Tennessee in 2017, but the school reneged following backlash to the decision.
Schiano, who began his career at Penn State in the early 1990s, was named in a deposition regarding the child abuse perpetrated by longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Former assistant coach Mike McQueary testified that another assistant, Tom Bradley, had indicated to him that Schiano once said something about seeing Sandusky “doing something with a boy.”
McQueary’s testimony was unsealed by a Philadelphia court in 2016.
The secondhand allegation was never further substantiated. Schiano denied knowledge of Sandusky’s abuse.
As Tennessee backed out of its agreement, Belichick vouched for Schiano’s character.
“Yes, 100 percent,” Belichick said in 2017. “I have great respect and think he’s a great football coach. I’m not really involved in any other situation, but speaking about him as a coach and a person, (I have) the utmost respect and zero reservations. Zero.”
Schiano left his position as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator in January to pursue NFL opportunities. He quickly landed with the Patriots.
Longtime Schiano assistant Bob Fraser was hired by the Patriots this offseason, according to a source, but his status with the team remains to be seen following Schiano’s departure. Fraser previously worked with Schiano at Rutgers, Ohio State, and for the Buccaneers.
Bret Bielema, who worked in a consulting role for the Patriots defensive staff a year ago, could be in line for an expanded opportunity. Bielema was previously the head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas before transitioning to New England.
Former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo announced Wednesday that he’s joining the coaching staff. Mayo played for the Pats from 2008-16.
The Patriots have lost several defensive coaches this offseason. Cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer followed Flores to Miami. Defensive line coach Brendan Daly was hired away by Kansas City.
On the other side of the ball, receivers coach Chad O’Shea left to become the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator. Assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski took a similar position with Miami.