When the New England Patriots lost Joe Judge to the New York Giants earlier this month — the 38-year-old will serve as the team’s new head coach — they were confronted with two openings on their coaching staff: Judge not only coached the Patriots’ special teams units since 2015 but also their wide receiver position in 2019. And while no official replacements have been announced just yet, one name can reportedly be added as a candidate.
According to Matt Zenitz of AL.com, the Patriots have added Vinnie Sunseri “in a support staff role.” The 26-year-old, of course, is a familiar face in New England: when he was still an active player in the NFL, the team once signed him to compete in its training camp. The Patriots brought Sunseri on board in July 2016 and while he failed to make the 53-man roster that year, he spent parts of the regular season on the team’s practice squad.
Sunseri originally began his career as a fifth-round draft pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2014, before arriving in New England two years later. His stint with the Patriots did not last long, however, as was eventually released after not even two months on the practice squad. He went on to join the San Francisco 49ers but saw his professional playing career come to an end in 2017; at that point he had a combined 15 games at the NFL level on his résumé.
Last year, Sunseri returned to football: he took a graduate assistant role at Alabama, where his father is coaching outside linebackers and his brother is serving as a graduate assistant. After just one year with the Crimson Tide, however, he is reportedly moving on from his alma mater again — this time back to the NFL, where he will work an assistant role in NEw England. How exactly his job will look like remains to be seen, but there are options.
Sunseri could, for example, take over as the Patriots’ assistant special teams coach: he saw most of his NFL action in the kicking game, and the club is currently trying to reshuffle its kicking game staff after Judge’s departure. With Cam Achord expected to move up the ranks to fill his former boss’ role, Sunseri might be the pick to take over as Achord’s right-hand man. Of course, he could also just be hired as a coaching assistant.