Dante Scarnecchia makes 'tough decision' to return to Patriots' staff

Dante Scarnecchia said that part of his motivation for returning to the Patriots' coaching staff was being able to have his grandkids experience the game day atmosphere. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- During his two-year retirement from the New England Patriots, veteran offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia enjoyed the lifestyle. Yes, he kept tabs on the team, but there were limits.

“It wasn’t like I was glued to it. If it was on, and I was in there, I’d watch it. Quite honestly, the night games, I ain’t making it past the second quarter,” he said Monday. “There’s no way -- starts too late and goes too long. I can’t do that.”

He’s back in now.

In one of the more important Patriots moves of the offseason, the club brought the 68-year-old Scarnecchia back. In his first group interview with New England reporters since his return, Scarnecchia detailed how it all unfolded.

It was about two weeks after the season and he and his wife, Susan, were in California when the call came gauging his interest in a return. They thought it over for a little over a week before deciding he was all-in.

“It is a tough decision. You get pretty used to a very nice lifestyle. I’m going to tell you, I like retiring now. Retirement was great. It was a lot of fun. We saw things we hadn’t seen ever, took trips, and spent a lot of time with our grandkids. All that was great. To a degree, it’s very, very, hard to give up,” he said.

“But we talked about it, my wife and I, and decided that this would be a good thing on a lot of different levels -- as far as the grandkids being able to come to the game for free, and just be part of it all. And I like coaching football. I love coaching football. I didn’t retire because I didn’t like coaching football. I retired because I got tired of the lifestyle. After two years off, I’m OK.”

It wasn’t long before Scarnecchia, who said he most values his relationship with players and teaching the game, was quickly reminded about the demands of the job.

“When I got back, the second day we were in a 14-hour personnel meeting and I said, ‘Oh my God.’ But it’s all right. … Hours are long, days are long. It’s a tough business. It’s a really tough business. I was willing to step back into it despite all that."