Cole Popovich, who shared offensive line coaching duties with Carmen Bricillo the last season, will not be coaching with the Patriots this season, according to a league source.
This season Bricillo will coach the offensive line alone.
It’s unclear where Popovich, who has been with the club since 2015, will be in 2021.
Popovich became the second offensive line coach to leave his position on Friday after the Vikings announced Rick Dennison would be leaving after he refused to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
It’s not clear if the Dennison and Popovich situations are similar, but the vaccine is required for all Tier 1 staff, including coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers, and scouts. Dr. Allen Sills said during a Friday conference call that coaching and staffs throughout the league are “nearly 100 percent” vaccinated.
Players are not required to receive the vaccine but will be subject to strict protocols beginning at training camp and continuing throughout the season that players who are vaccinated will not have to adhere to.
The NFL issued a statement earlier in the summer that any unvaccinated Tier 1 staffer needed to provide a valid religious or medical reason for not receiving a vaccine. Without Tier 1 status, coaches cannot be on the field, in meeting rooms, or have any direct interactions with players.
Popovich joined the Patriots as a coaching assistant in 2015, served as an assistant running backs coach in 2019 before taking over offensive line chores with Bricillo last season. Popovich played on the offensive line at Fresno State from 2003-08.
Bricillo joined the Patriots in 2019 after a lengthy college coaching career. He played center at Duquesne in the mid 1990s.
The Patriots have a deep and experienced offensive line anchored by center David Andrews. The projected lineup includes Isaiah Wynn at left tackle, Mike Onwenu at left guard, Shaq Mason at right guard, and Trent Brown at right tackle.
Training camp practices begin Wednesday.