Two weeks removed from their final regular season game, the New England Patriots are in full offseason mode. This also includes preparing for the NFL’s 2021 draft, although the Coronavirus pandemic has altered the process quite a bit. Also not immune from this change is the East-West Shrine Bowl, which originally had been scheduled to take place this week in Florida.
The pandemic forced the organizers to cancel the event. In its place, however, a virtual learning program has been implemented that will give coaches a chance to work with draft prospects that otherwise would have participated in the traditional exhibition contest and practice sessions leading up to it.
A total of 10 NFL teams will participate in the event, with the New England Patriots also among them. The team, as was announced earlier this week, will be represented by running backs/kick returners coach Troy Brown and defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington. Together, they will lead a series of virtual drills during the event.
Brown, a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame as a wide receiver and return man, is entering his third season on the team’s coaching staff. He served in a fellowship position in 2019 and was promoted to assistant running backs as well as kick returners coach last year.
Covington, meanwhile, is headed into his fourth year with the club. He served as a defensive coaching assistant for the first two seasons after his arrival in 2017, and was named outside linebackers coach in 2019. Last year, the Patriots moved him to work with the defensive line.
Brown and Covington are among a total of 29 NFL assistants that will work at the 2021 version of the East-West Shrine Bowl. Teams had a chance to nominate assistant coaches at the end of the regular season, with representatives from the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers joining the two Patriots.