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Longtime Pats OL coach Dante Scarnecchia to retire

New England Patriots legendary offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is retiring once again.

The Patriots announced Tuesday that Scarnecchia will retire after 36 years in the NFL -- 34 of which came in New England.

"It was a privilege to coach with Dante for so long," head coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. "I knew that long before his initial retirement and throughout a second act of continued excellence. Dante is among the very best assistant coaches ever."

Scarnecchia, who turns 72 years old next month, initially stepped aside from the Patriots in 2013 after a lengthy assistant coaching career. Belichick coaxed his O-line coach back to the sideline in 2016.

"You never know what to expect in this crazy business and it's been an unbelievable four years," Scarnecchia told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Tuesday. "An unbelievable career. To coach 48 seasons of football, it's been unbelievable and I never would've expected anything remotely close to this. I've been extremely blessed for 1000 different reasons. I'll give you three: Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. To have those stars all in alignment, it's been unbelievable. To just be able to share in it has been great."

Scarnecchia has been one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL for years. After his return, he helped solidify a previously struggling O-line in front of Tom Brady, as the Pats won two additional Super Bowls following his return.

"I'm going to be 72 in a few weeks, it feels like it's time," Scarnecchia said.

New England's offensive line struggled through injury and inconsistent play in 2019, and now must replace one of the best position coaches in the NFL as they head toward the 2020 campaign.

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