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‘Character coach’ Jack Easterby is leaving the Patriots

Easterby worked behind the scenes in Foxborough with the title of “character coach/team development."

Josh Gordon Jack Easterby
Detroit, MI: 9-23-18: Before the game, Patriots wide reciever Josh Gordon (right) spent time on the field with Jack Easterby, (left) the organization's character coach/team chaplin. The New England Patriots visited the Detroit Lions in a regular season Sunday Night NFL football game at Ford Field. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff) –Jim Davis/Globe Staff

INDIANAPOLIS – The Patriots coaching staff has suffered another substantial loss this offseason as Jack Easterby, the team’s “character coach’’ and one of Bill Belichick’s closest confidants, is leaving after six seasons, multiple league sources confirmed.

Easterby’s contract with the Patriots expired after last season, and he has decided to pursue other opportunities in football. Easterby helped navigate the Patriots through significant highs and lows over six years — the Aaron Hernandez ordeal and Deflategate fiasco, plus four Super Bowl runs. Last season, Easterby’s foremost assignment was mentoring and keeping close tabs on troubled receiver Josh Gordon.

Easterby’s departure comes at a time when the organization is reeling from team owner Robert Kraft facing charges in Florida for soliciting prostitution. Easterby felt his time with the team had run its course, and the Kraft situation does not sit well with him, according to league sources. Easterby retweeted a message from Saints tight end Ben Watson last Friday about the “entrenched evil’’ of human trafficking.

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