After 34 years with the Patriots, Offensive Line Coach Dante Scarnecchia announced he is retiring, and it didn't take long for well wishes to come pouring in for the legendary coach. Stories about his drive and intensity on the football field (and in the weight room) came from those in his position group and those outside of it.
From coaches to former Patriots players, it's clear just how well-respected Scarnecchia is. Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels shared their thoughts about Scarnecchia in the wake of the news.
ROBERT KRAFT "Dante Scarnecchia has been unbelievable in every way. As a coach, he was extraordinarily talented at teaching his players and bringing the most out of each of them. Dante put everything he had into helping his players achieve their maximum potential -- the mark of a great coach. His contributions to our team and to the game of football are unprecedented over the last four decades. Yet even more remarkable is the impact Dante has had on countless players, coaches and staff members who have walked through our doors. He modeled the principles he believed in through his hard work, diligence and integrity. He held himself accountable. He trained alongside his players. He treated everyone with respect. There truly is no way to sum up the incredible career he's had, the positive impact he's made on our franchise or how much he will be missed. We are forever grateful for Dante and wish him the absolutely best in his next chapter, along with his lovely wife Susan and his family. The New England Patriots are better because of Dante Scarnecchia, and he will always have a home with us."
BILL BELICHICK "It was a privilege to coach with Dante for so long. 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."
JOSH MCDANIELS "I am so fortunate to have coached with Dante Scarnecchia. He has been a respected mentor, an admired colleague and a trusted friend throughout my career. He loved coaching and excelled at helping his players reach their full potential. He was disciplined and demanding, yet personable. Stern, yet understanding. His work ethic was beyond reproach. He studied every detail, focused on fundamentals and gave each player personal instruction to help them improve every day. I know he made me a better coach and I will always be grateful for his countless contributions to our team's success. He is a great coach and an even better person. His daily presence will be missed, but he won't be forgotten."
Upon hearing the announcement, former Patriot and current NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest shared his thoughts on Scarnecchia.
"You use the word respected. I don't know any coach that's been through that organization that has more respect than Dante. Somebody who's a grinder. He ran the hill with the offensive linemen and the players. He demanded respect in the classroom. He knew his job from A to Z," McGinest said. "He was able to develop so many different players you probably never heard of and have one of the best protections, one of the best offensive lines in the league. A guy that when you try to talk to him and get him on an interview, he wants no part of it. He's so humble, but he meant so much to the organization. I just want to say congratulations. Hope you don't get the itch again because you did it before when you retired for a couple years. He loves football and he loved us and he gave us his all."
Patriots players also turned to social media to congratulate the coach, even though, as Kyle Van Noy pointed out, Scarnecchia wouldn't be able to see it on his flip phone.
On Instagram, several Patriots commented on the team's post about Scarnecchia. Tom Brady, David Andrews, Patrick Chung, Joe Cardona, Jamie Collins and former Patriot Martellus Bennett all commented their own congratulations and thanks.
Brady wrote: "Couldn't have been a greater man or coach! What a privilege to play and work with Dante for two decades. The definition of the Patriot Way -- consistent and dependable EVERY DAY!!" Chung wrote: "The man himself. Congrats Scar! I appreciate you."
Van Noy, James White, Ben Watson and former Patriot Marquis Flowers all took to Twitter to congratulate Scarnecchia, and former Patriot Damien Woody also shared a heartfelt message on Instagram, thanking Scarnecchia for preparing him for his career.
"From my predraft visit, where we sat through and watched the worst game of my college career (Syracuse), to my last game in a Pats uniform, this man taught me more about the game than I could ever imagine," Woody wrote. "Never relenting on the details, I always used to wonder why he was so damn hard on me my first couple yrs in the league and looking back on it...he did me a HUGE favor! That foundation is what carried me for 12 yrs in the #NFL and beyond. I want to thank coach from the bottom of my heart for helping turn a young pup from BC into a pro on and off the field."
You can check out how the Patriots thanked Scarnecchia in the posts below.