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Report: Cole Popovich No Longer Part Of Patriots Coaching Staff, Decision Related To COVID-19 Vaccine

BOSTON (CBS) -- The New England offensive line figures to be a pretty talented group in 2021. But that unit will have some changes in regards to who is coaching them.

Cole Popovich, who served as New England's co-offensive line coach last year with Carmen Bricillo, is not returning to the Patriots staff in 2021, as first reported by The Boston Globe's Jim McBride. Bricillo will now serve as the team's lone offensive line coach.

ESPN's Mike Reiss reported that the decision to move on from Popovich is "related to the COVID-19 vaccine and NFL guidelines."

The NFL sent out a memo to all teams on Thursday announcing that games cancelled due to outbreaks caused by unvaccinated players and staff members would result in a forfeit for the team responsible for the outbreak. Players on both teams also would not be paid for that game.

On Friday, the Minnesota Vikings reportedly parted ways with offensive line coach and run game coordinator Rick Dennison after he refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Popovich, 36, had been with the Patriots since 2015, when he started as a coaching assistant. He worked his way up to assistant running backs coach in 2019, before being promoted to co-offensive line coach in 2020.

New England was the only team that he's ever worked for in the NFL. Popovich spent time in the college ranks at Los Angeles Valley College, Fresno City College, Utah State University, and Minot State University.

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