Patriots’ Ernie Adams Officially Announces Retirement In Statement

Belichick's right-hand man retires after 21 seasons with New England


May 3, 2021

New England Patriots football research director Ernie Adams announced his retirement in a statement to ESPN.

“The last 21 seasons with the New England Patriots have been extraordinary for me,” Adams told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “I am fortunate to have been part of a team along with Bill Belichick, outstanding colleagues, patient owners, and a lot of great players. It is time for me to stop working and join the many wonderful fans who have been with us for this run.”

Adams, 68, has been the Patriots’ football research director for Belichick’s entire tenure as head coach, starting in 2000. He previously served as an offensive assistant and administrative assistant for the Patriots from 1975 to 1978, an offensive assistant with the New York Giants from 1979 to 1981, the Giants’ director of pro personnel from 1982 to 1985 and an offensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns from 1991 to 1995. He worked as a trader on Wall Street in between jobs in football.

Adams went to Phillips Academy with Belichick, and the two have remained close friends since. Belichick hinted at Adams’ retirement Saturday when he told reporters it had been the football research director’s last draft with the Patriots.

“Ernie Adams, this is his last draft, and certainly he’s been a huge part of the draft process with the New England Patriots, going all the way to Coach (Chuck) Fairbanks to the Giants to Cleveland, back to New England,” Belichick said. “The acquisition of a lot of great players, all the process that goes into drafting, grading players, scouting players, setting up a grading scale, trading really every single thing that is involved in that. Ernie’s had that seat and that role and been a part of all those things in the Draft room.

“As always, it was great to work with him again over the weekend here. …

“I think Ernie’s contributions are historic. Again, they traverse several decades and so many different areas in every corner of the room and then some. He’s literally been involved in every single aspect of the football program at every level that you could possibly be involved in. He’s done an outstanding job on all of them, but not all coaches have the kind of involvement that Ernie’s had in the draft process throughout his career, and his knowledge, experience, and decisions and organization and being part of the process and the way he set it up and taught it to all the people who have come through here from Scott (Pioli) and Nick (Caserio) to all the scouts and so forth. Really he’s had a big hand in it again, going back to the foundation of when it was laid in the middle ’70s with Bucko (Kilroy) and Chuck (Fairbanks) and so forth. It’s on a major level, but at some point he can talk more about that.”

Adams made one last draft pick with the Patriots in the seventh round when he hand-selected wide receiver Tre Nixon out of UCF.

Adams assisted Belichick on game days with a direct line to the head coach on important matters like challenges and timeouts.

You can watch a feature on Adams produced by the Patriots here:

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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