There are plenty of ties between the New England Patriots and the Detroit Lions: General manager Bob Quinn used to serve as the Patriots' director of pro scouting, head coach Matt Patricia was the team's defensive coordinator until a month ago, and multiple assistant coaches formerly worked for New England. The Lions' latest hire was also once on the Patriots' payroll, although in a different capacity.
As the team announced yesterday, former New England safety Steve Gregory joined its coaching staff as a defensive assistant. The 35-year old has familiarity with both Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn from his time with the Patriots: He joined the franchise as an unrestricted free agent in 2012, the first year that Patricia and Quinn oversaw the defense and pro scouting department, respectively.
Over his two years in New England, Gregory appeared in 30 games for the Patriots and registered three interceptions, a sack and a touchdown off one of the most famous fumbles in NFL history: 2012 Thanksgiving Day's Buttfumble by the New York Jets. Gregory, who started his pro career with the then-San Diego Chargers in 2006, retired shortly after joining the Kansas City Chiefs in the summer of 2014.
The following season, Gregory's coaching career began when returned to his alma mater Syracuse to work as a special teams quality control coach. Now, he will get his first crack at a coaching job in the NFL.