After more than four decades in coaching, including his first four professional years with the New England Patriots, veteran defensive coordinator Dean Pees has retired.

Pees earned his start in the NFL under coach Bill Belichick as the Patriots linebackers coach in 2004. He quickly made the leap to defensive coordinator, where he served from 2006-09, before holding the title for six seasons in Baltimore with the Ravens and his final two years with the Titans. The 70-year-old Pees made the announcement Monday, one day after Tennessee lost in the AFC Championship Game to the Kansas City Chiefs.

It followed an impressive run into the postseason for both Pees and the Titans. Tennessee’s defense held the Patriots to just 13 points in the AFC wild-card game before bottling up the high-powered Baltimore Ravens, where they allowed just 12 points in the AFC divisional game.

“It is for real,” Pees said of his retirement, according to the team. “If I wanted to continue coaching, it would be here. We’ve got a great staff, really enjoyed the guys, great working for (Tennessee head coach) Mike (Vrabel), I love our players. I’m done coaching.”

Before joining the NFL ranks, Pees spent 25 years at the collegiate level as he worked with high school players starting in 1973 before working his way up at the college level starting in 1979.

A two-time Super Bowl champion, Pees was on staff as the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXIX over the Philadelphia Eagles. He later helped the 2006 Patriots defense finish second in points allowed and the 2007 team rank first in yard differential as the defense finished fourth in yards allowed.

Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/ USA TODAY Sports Images