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Ray Ventrone added as Patriots assistant

The New England Patriots have hired nine-year NFL veteran Ray Ventrone as their assistant special teams coach, the club announced Tuesday.

Ventrone will work under Joe Judge, the team's assistant special teams coach the last three years. Judge was promoted to the head job following the retirement of Scott O'Brien after Super Bowl XLIX.

The appointment means Ventrone will begin his coaching career where his playing career started, as he spent four years with the Patriots after originally joining the team as a rookie free agent out of Villanova in 2005. He was with the Patriots for most of the next four seasons, outside of a stint on the Jets' practice squad in 2007, before hooking on with the Browns (2009-2012) and 49ers (2013-2014).

Ventrone was a favorite of former Patriots special teams coach Brad Seely, whom Bill Belichick has said is one of the best special teams coaches he's been around. During his NFL career, he was primarily used as a special teams player, registering 57 total tackles, including a season-high of 12 in 2009 with the Browns.

The Patriots had been the only team in the NFL not to have a former player on their coaching staff in 2014.