Scott O'Brien: From Patriots special teams coach to area scout

When longtime NFL special teams coach Scott O'Brien announced his retirement from coaching for the New England Patriots after the Super Bowl, head coach Bill Belichick said, "While we will miss his contributions in coaching, we look forward to continuing to work with him in other capacities."

Now we know what those capacities will be.

O'Brien, 58, will serve as an area scout in the team's personnel department, making a most unique career shift after coaching 24 seasons in the NFL.

Belichick had called O'Brien "one of the finest coaches of his generation" and players at the team's Super Bowl ring ceremony took note that Belichick recognized him with extended remarks at the event.

In addition to O'Brien's addition to the scouting staff, the personnel staff has a few other changes of note:

James Liipfert, now in his seventh year with the club, has been promoted from area scout to national scout.

Jonathan Howard, now in his third Patriots season, has been bumped up from from scouting assistant to area scout.

Frank Ross, who was a scouting assistant in New England from 2011-12 before spending the past two years as a coach at John Carroll University, returns as a scout.