Dante Scarnecchia speaks Monday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)
FOXBORO — The 68-year-old Dante Scarnecchia knows full well what he’s getting back into.
The new Patriots offensive line coach returned this January after two years off and on Monday, at Gillette Stadium, he strolled down the hallway from the team offices and explained why he came out of retirement.
“After the season, maybe two weeks after the season, my wife and I were out in California doing some stuff for the University of the Pacific and got a call and asked if I would be interested in coming back. Over the next probably 8-to-10 days, we decided to come back. Basically, that’s it.
“It is a tough decision because you get pretty used to a very nice lifestyle. I like retirement. 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 and, to a degree, it’s very hard to give up. We talked about it, my wife and I, and decided this would be a good thing on a lot of different levels, as far as the grandkids being able to come to the games 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.”
Scarnecchia, who still worked out the likes of Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming in retirement, insisted that the offensive line problems at the end of the season that cost Dave DeGuglielmo his job did not factor in his return. “None,” was Coach Scar’s one-word reply to the question.
Scarnecchia, who began his Patriots coaching career in 1982, made it very clear that if it weren’t for the unique situation of Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft and the Patriots, he’d still be enjoying retirement.
“I think the number one thing is if you decide to go back into coaching, you’re kind of at the mercy of the business, that is to say, ‘Who’s going to hire you and where do you have to go?’ So, what makes it unique is that we’re here and everything’s the same and that really makes it easy,” Honestly, I probably would not have gotten back into coaching had I had to to go somewhere else because I was going by myself. She ain’t going. OK? Let’s get that straight. And really, I can’t leave my kids and grandkids. I couldn’t do that.”
He might have missed the field and the players and other coaches but he made it clear, during retirement he did NOT miss the long hours.
“No, I didn’t miss the routine. I was reminded of the routine when I got back and on the second day, we were in a 14-hour personnel meeting and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ But it’s all right.
“It wasn’t like I was sitting at home and thinking, ‘Boy, I wish I was there and I could do this and I could do that.’ It wasn’t any of that. I know what the job entails. Yeah, it’s fun being out on the field. It’s fun being in the meeting rooms. It’s fun being part of the whole situation but you know, the hours are long, the days are long. It’s tough. It’s a tough business. It’s a really tough business. I was willing to step back into it despite all that.”