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Retiring Patriots OL coach Dante Scarnecchia on D&C: ‘The game’s not forever’

01.24.14 at 9:59 am ET
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Dante Scarnecchia joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss his decision to retire from his position as a Patriots offensive line coach after 30 years with the team. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Scarnecchia announced his retirement on Wendesday.

“Well, I think it’€™s been something that I’€™ve considered actually over the last couple of years as you get into your 60s and, in my case, into the mid-60s — I’€™m three weeks away from being 66,” Scarnecchia said. “I just said OK.

“I can tell you I could keep going and I feel great and I love the game and all the rest of it. But at some point — and I’ve always told this to the offensive linemen whenever we lost a guy out of our meeting room who we all felt pretty strong about — that the game’€™s not forever. It’€™s not forever for the players and it’€™s not forever for the coaches.”

This past season Scarnecchia was the longest-tenured coach in the NFL after entering the league in 1982 and spending 30 of 32 seasons with New England.

“For some unbelievable and unexplainable reason, when we lost a coach out of here I was able to stay on with the coach that was coming in,” Scarnecchia said. “I don’€™t know how to explain that. When [Bill Parcells] came in here, I did not know Bill Parcells at all. For some reason three guys he was bringing in spoke on my behalf saying, ‘You ought to keep this guy,’ and I was fortunate to be kept on there.

“There were a couple of times where I was able to say — and it was when Parcells went to the Jets and he asked me if I would come along — I said I’ve got this daughter and she’€™s almost out of high school, and I can’€™t do that. I can’€™t do that,” Scarnecchia added.

Scarnecchia never anticipated that he would coach in the NFL.

“I thought, honestly, I would be a high school football coach because that’€™s what I wanted to be, like those guys at Montebello High School who were great mentors to me as a 16-year-old kid in high school and that taught me the game,” Scarnecchia said of his youth in Southern California.

“That’€™s what I thought I would be. … I never taught one day in high school and never coached one day in high school. Maybe the journey would’€™ve been more fulfilled had I.”

Although he filled in at the end of the 1992 season for Parcells, who was ill at the time, Scarnecchia was never the head coach of a NFL team.

“I am only an assistant coach, I was never a coordinator. I was a special teams coach, and the track record for that isn’t very good,” Scarnecchia said of why he never got an offer to lead a team.  “The second thing is I never had an agent. The third thing is, and I really believe this, and believe me I’m not upset at all about it, when you stop talking to the press and don’t put yourself out there, then you’re not promoting yourself. And that’s OK, believe me that’s OK. I’m fine with that.

“I will never look back on this career, our career, and say, ‘Hey, boy, I wish I could’ve done this to be head coach.’ It is what it is. I’m very content with what it’s been. Believe me, I’m very content.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

On Bill Belichick being the best coach he’s worked with: “There’€™s no doubt about it, he’€™s an extraordinary head coach. He’€™s very, very tough. He’€™s forthright. I think he has a way — you’€™ll never be able to experience this — but if you ever sat in our squad meetings and listened to the way he teaches how he wants the game played every week, particular to the opponent that we’€™re playing, you would have a tremendous appreciation for the way this guy is.

“I think, personally, I think he’€™s a very easy guy to work for because you always know what he wants. … All you have to do is give him what he wants and then it becomes easy. If you don’€™t give him what he wants then it gets a little rough. He’€™s always defined our program as not an easy program to be a part of and it isn’€™t because there’€™s a lot demanded of him, but they all listen and they all buy into it, and those that don’€™t have a hard time.”

On how Belichick would react to Richard Sherman’€™s interview: “Oh, man, This is tough. I really like Richard Sherman. I love the way he plays. I think he’€™s a great player. I don’€™t have any problem with his outspokenness. I thought he was selfish and he admitted that he was very selfish the other day. I think that that type of behavior would be one thing, I don’€™t want to speak for Bill, but I think that there would be a word said, ‘You can’€™t do this,’ and I suspect that [Pete Carroll] did the same thing to him after the game. ‘You can’€™t talk this way, you’€™re putting yourself ahead of the team.’ Because Pete’€™s a team guy, he really is.”

Read More: Bill Parcells, Dante Scarnecchia, Pete Carroll, Richard Sherman
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