Patriots’ former character coach lands job with Texans
Jack Easterby, the New England Patriots’ character coach for the past six NFL seasons, left the team to take a new job with the Houston Texans.
When news broke at the end of February that Jack Easterby, the New England Patriots‘ character coach, was leaving the team after six seasons, many wondered why. On Tuesday, the answer became clear: the Houston Texans announced the hire of Easterby as their new executive vice president of team development.
According to league sources cited in a report by The Boston Globe, Easterby “felt his time with the team had run its course” following the expiration of his contract, the Patriots’ victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53, and the news that team owner Robert Kraft would be facing solicitation charges due to his role in a Florida massage parlor prostitution scandal.
The same report noted that Kraft’s situation did “not sit well” with Easterby, which of course would make sense given his role with the organization as a character coach.
Easterby was originally hired by head coach Bill Belichick and Patriots ownership to help the team survive the aftermath of the Aaron Hernandez murder conviction. He served an important role in stabilizing the team locker room and making himself available for coaching and counsel in the wake of incidents like Deflategate and other potential team chemistry “distractions.”
He also reportedly played a pivotal role last season in attempting to mentor and keep tabs on troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon, who ended up missing the latter portion of the season after testing positive for a banned substance and receiving an indefinite suspension.
Easterby now joins former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien with the Houston Texans organization. Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel also previously worked under Belichick as New England’s defensive coordinator in the early days of the 2000s dynasty as well.
In addition to Easterby, the Patriots lost de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores (new head coach of the Miami Dolphins), wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea (new offensive coordinator for the Dolphins), cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer (new cornerbacks coach for the Dolphins), quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski (new quarterbacks coach for the Dolphins), and defensive line coach Brendan Daly (new defensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs).
These coaching personnel losses, along with the departures of a number of key free agent players like Trey Flowers, Trent Brown, Malcom Brown, and Cordarrelle Patterson – not to mention the retirement of Rob Gronkowski – have combined to make this offseason one of the most turbulent ever in the Brady/Belichick era of the Patriots franchise.