Assistant coach Pepper Johnson is leaving Patriots

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Longtime Patriots assistant coach Pepper Johnson will not be returning to the team for the 2014 season.

The 49-year-old Johnson, who served as linebackers coach for the last two years after eight years as the defensive line coach, also coached inside linebackers from 2001-03, after beginning his coaching career as a defensive assistant in 2000, at the start of Bill Belichick’s tenure with New England.

A two-time Pro Bowler during his 13-year career, Johnson played for Belichick with the Giants, Browns, and Jets, and won five Super Bowl rings: two as a player and three as a coach.

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