Bill Belichick gives tribute to Ernie Adams before his final Patriots practice

Adams concludes his 21-year career with the Patriots following Wednesday's minicamp practice.

Ernie Adams Patriots Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick (left) and Ernie Adams. Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Recent Links

Before jumping off his last media availability before training camp next month, Bill Belichick announced that mandatory minicamp wouldn’t be the only thing culminating for the Patriots Wednesday.

The day would also mark Ernie Adams’s final practice with the New England Patriots.

Adams, the team’s longtime research director, announced his retirement this winter after 21 years with the team. Belichick gave him the honor of making the Patriots’ last pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, with which he selected wide receiver Tre Nixon.

Adams had been at OTA and minicamp practices with the team in a farewell tour of sorts.

“Ernie’s had such a big impact on our success here with the Patriots in so many different ways,” Belichick said of Adams, citing his contributions in draft grading, organizing the personnel department, and even helping craft game plans. “I leaned heavily on Ernie for 21 years here and going back to Cleveland and New York and our relationship, which started at Andover more than 50 years ago.


“Ernie’s been a great friend. He’s certainly been a great asset to this organization and to me personally. I think a lot of things he’s done have also been recognized by other coaches and other staffs in the league…his versatility, ability to do so many different things, his passion for football are really second-to-none.”

The enigmatic Adams himself spoke to media after Belichick and answered questions in true Patriots fashion, though he said he doesn’t see himself as a “man of mystery.”

When asked to sum up his role with the team, he said, “My job is to figure out as many things as I can to help the New England Patriots win football games…whether it’s strategy, personnel, or anything else. The thing that’s been great about my job is I never really had any constraints put on me. I could go into any area I thought could help us.”

He also wouldn’t reveal the meaning behind the phrase “Pink Stripes,” which was first seen on a whiteboard above Adams during a 2014 interview and has never been explained.

“I go back to my Wall Street days. Everything we did, we said was proprietary trading information, so I’ll leave it at that,” he said, harkening back to his days as a municipal bond trader. “That’s strictly an inside joke and proprietary football information.”


Though he didn’t speak much about his future with the team, he did note that Belichick “has all my contact information” in case there’s anything he can help with.

“I’ve been around quite a bit. So if there’s an opportunity I have to help a young player, help a young coach, I think that’s part of my job to always take it.”


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on