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Ex-Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema joins Pats as consultant to head coach

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bill Belichick has added a new position to his coaching staff this year and has hired one of college football's more recognized coaches, Bret Bielema, to fill it.

Bielema, the former Arkansas head coach, is joining the Patriots as a "consultant to the head coach" in 2018.

Belichick hadn't announced Bielema's role in June, although Bielema was already working with the team at that time. During spring practices, he spent notable time working with special-teams units.

Bielema had been fired as Arkansas coach in November after five seasons. He was 29-34 with the Razorbacks (11-29 in the SEC).

The Patriots have had success drafting players recruited and coached by Bielema, going back to his time at Wisconsin, where New England found running back James White (fourth round, 2014). More recently, Arkansas defensive linemen Trey Flowers (2015 fourth round) and Deatrich Wise Jr. (2017 fourth round) have made significant contributions to the Patriots.

From 2014-15, Belichick filled a similar role on his coaching staff with Michael Lombardi, who served as an assistant to the coaching staff. Lombardi, among other things, worked on special projects for Belichick.