The Loop

The Patriots' character coach leaves team, raising question: the Patriots had a character coach?

March 01, 2019
New England Patriots Victory Parade

Maddie Meyer

The New England Patriots are known for a lot of things. Character ain't one of them.

"Spygate" and "Deflategate" are more than enough "gates" to permanently taint this franchise. But the Pats go the extra mile to ensure you, the NFL fan, know that integrity is not in their vocabulary. They've had six players suspended for PEDs in the past decade, including reigning Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman. Their quarterback employs a super-shady personal trainer, one who has an interesting history with the Federal Trade Commission. Said quarterback also got his back-up traded because the back-up was becoming more popular in the locker room. The coach sat their star cornerback in a Super Bowl, one they lost because their secondary was torched, because the coach didn't personally like the cornerback. Oh, and they once employed a murderer.

So it may come as a surprise to you that the New England Patriots have a character coach named Jack Easterby. We know, right? Like sumo wrestlers employing a carb counter.

Or should we say "had." From the Boston Globe:

The Patriots coaching staff has suffered another substantial loss this offseason as Jack Easterby, the team’s “character coach’’ and one of Bill Belichick’s closest confidants, is leaving after six seasons, multiple league sources confirmed.

Easterby’s contract with the Patriots expired after last season, and he has decided to pursue other opportunities in football. Easterby helped navigate the Patriots through significant highs and lows over six years — the Aaron Hernandez ordeal and Deflategate fiasco, plus four Super Bowl runs. Last season, Easterby’s foremost assignment was mentoring and keeping close tabs on troubled receiver Josh Gordon.

Easterby’s departure comes at a time when the organization is reeling from team owner Robert Kraft facing charges in Florida for soliciting prostitution. Easterby felt his time with the team had run its course, and the Kraft situation does not sit well with him, according to league sources. Easterby retweeted a message from Saints tight end Ben Watson last Friday about the “entrenched evil’’ of human trafficking.

In his defense, Easterby does seem to be well-respected by Patriots players and coaches. Conversely, isn't this precisely the time when a character coach IS needed?

But hey, bigger things could be on Easterby's horizon. After all, ESPN needs a new voice in the Monday Night Football booth. No way he's worse than Jason Witten.