When Dante Scarnecchia first retired from coaching in the NFL in 2014, he did not completely cut his ties to a New England Patriots organization with which he spent 28 of his 30 seasons in the league up until that point. Instead, Scarnecchia continued to support the team by assisting the scouting department and working out draft prospects. As such, he was instrumental in bringing future starters David Andrews and Shaq Mason on board.
Fast forward to 2020 and a similar pattern seems to be developing: as first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, Scarnecchia — who announced his second retirement as the Patriots’ offensive line coach shortly after the team’s playoff exit in January — is again supporting the club as a de facto scouting assistant. In this role, New England’s former offensive line coach, who had returned to the team in 2016 after ending his retirement just two years in, is projected to be quite busy this week.
After all, the 72-year-old will reportedly be part of the contingent of coaches, executives and scouts that will represent New England at the NFL combine in Indianapolis throughout the week. Scarnecchia’s vast experience and the relationship he has with the team and its staff even in retirement is a valuable asset, and one that is certainly advantageous for the Patriots as they transition away from him and to a new offensive line coach.
Who will eventually take over that role has yet to be announced. However, two of the assistants who will also be visiting the combine this week — assistant running backs coach Cole Popovich and coaching assistant Carmen Bricillo — seem to be possible in-house options and are among the favorites to take over for Scarnecchia in 2020.