Greg Schiano announced on Thursday that he's stepping down from his role on the Patriots coaching staff.

"This is not the result of any one event, but rather a realization that I need to spend more time on my faith and family," Schiano said in a statement released through the Patriots. "I don't want to look back years from now and wish I had done things differently. Therefore, I am taking time away from the game to recalibrate my priorities."

Schiano was hired less than two months ago, but the Patriots never specified what his role would be.

It was widely assumed, however, that Schiano would play a lead role on the Patriots defensive coaching staff following the departure of Brian Flores, who has taken over as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins after serving as New England's defensive playcaller last season.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a close relationship with Schiano and says he respects the coach's decision.

"I respect Coach Schiano greatly and appreciate his contributions to our staff and team," Belichick said in a statement. "He is a friend who we support completely."

The announcement came just minutes after Belichick raved about Schiano in taped appearance on Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski’s satellite radio show.

"We’ve added Coach Schiano to our defensive staff and he’s a very experienced and outstanding fundamentals coach," Belichick said. "Good teacher and has a lot of experience in both the college and pro game. He’s coached a lot of our players. We’ve had quite a few guys from Rutgers. I think he’ll be a great addition."

At Rutgers, Schiano coached Patriots defensive backs Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty and Duron Harmon. He also coached Belichick's son Steve, who serves as safeties coach for the Patriots.

Schiano, 52, spent the last three seasons as an assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Ohio State.

Five coaches have left the Patriots since the team beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

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