New England's search for an offensive line coach could return a familiar, legendary face to the Patriots this offseason.
According to ESPNBoston.com, the team has had discussions with former offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who retired after the 2013 season, about returning to the team.
Scarnecchia, who has worked in a sort of consulting role with the team during the draft process through his first two years of retirement has also been an active member of the organization in the community in his time away from the field.
In fact, ESPNBoston.com writes that it's actually quite likely at this point in the discussions that Scarnecchia will be back on the sidelines in Foxborough in 2016.
"Scarnecchia's willingness to discuss a return to the coaching staff in 2016 is an indication that his retirement from coaching might be short-lived, as it would be a surprise at this point if he isn't back on the Patriots' sideline for next season."
After Scarnecchia's retirement, which had actually been delayed a couple years from what he first intended, New England hired Dave DeGuglielmo to oversee the offensive line. The veteran coach and Boston University alum helped piece together a unit that was part of a Super Bowl title in his first season in 2014, but the bottom fell out this fall as the group struggled for a variety of reasons, right through an embarrassing performance in the season-ending loss in the AFC Championship game in Denver.
DeGuglielmo's contract ran out after this season and he was not extended, but rather landed as an assistant offensive line coach with the Chargers.
Scarnecchia is a legend of more than 30 years of coaching as an NFL assistant. He spent all but two years of that time in New England, working from 1982-88 and then 1991-2013. Though he worked on special teams, with tight ends and even on defense at times in his career, he spent his last 15 seasons as one of the most respected offensive line coaches in the game.
Now, after a couple years off to recharge his batteries and spent time with his family, it looks like the soon-to-be 68-year-old Scarnecchia and his unmatched work ethic could be returning to the football offices at Gillette Stadium on a full-time basis to help fix an offensive line that was clearly the team's fatal flaw this past season.
If he does return, Scarnecchia would oversee a group that includes familiar veterans likes tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer, as well as youngsters the sage coach helped bring to New England including would-be starters in Bryan Stork, Tre' Jackson, Shaq Mason and impressive undrafted rookie David Andrews.