Patriots coach Bill Belichick released a statement on the recent departure from the organization of linebackers coach Pepper Johnson.
I am proud and honored to have spent more years of my career with Pepper Johnson than any other player or coach. Of all the people I coached or worked with, nobody has more passion and love for the game than Pepper. His energy and wisdom for football knows no limits. Pepper made me a better coach and person and helped create some of the greatest moments of my career. He is a great player, coach and lifelong friend and I am sure he will enjoy continued success as he moves forward.
Johnson joined the Patriots during the 2000 season as an assistant linebackers coach. He coached Patriots defensive linemen for eight seasons before taking over the role of linebackers coach for the last two seasons.
Johnson also played for Belichick on three different teams over the course of his 13-year career. Belichick coached Johnson as Giants defensive coordinator, Browns head coach and Jets assistant head coach.
Johnson released a statement Tuesday saying that he would be moving on from the Patriots. The statement read in part:
I thank the entire New England Patriot Organization for the last 13 years of my life. I am proud of all the things we have accomplished. The Kraft family is one of a kind and I will always be grateful to them and hold them in the highest regard. Bill Belichick and I have been working together in some capacity for 26 years and I am who I am because of it. To have five Super Bowl rings (2 as a player 3 as a coach) and all of them with Bill has been a blessing. I could never have asked for a better coach/boss/friend in those 26 years. Thanks for always supporting me and I know Bill will continue to support me no matter what.
Thank you New England Patriot fans I will miss you the most.