Pepper Johnson leaves New England Patriots coaching staff

Pepper Johnson, coach of the New England Patriots, watches the action against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on October 21, 2012
© Getty Images
New England Patriots linebackers coach Pepper Johnson confirms that he has left the club after 14 seasons with Bill Belichick's side.

New England Patriots linebackers coach Pepper Johnson has left the club after 14 years with the team.

Johnson played under head coach Bill Belichick as a player with the New York Giants and the Cleveland Browns, and joined his staff at the Patriots in 2000, but was passed up for the position of defensive coordinator in 2012 in favour of Matt Patricia.

"I could never have asked for a better coach/boss/friend in those 26 years," Johnson told ESPN. "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."

Johnson has five Super Bowl rings, three of which he earned as part of the Patriots coaching staff.

A general view of the goal post against the blue sky as the Denver Broncos host the San Diego Chargers during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 22, 200
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