Bill Belichick honors Dante Scarnecchia, Mike Vrabel ahead of Patriots Hall of Fame ceremony

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FOXBORO — Former offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and ex-linebacker Mike Vrabel will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in a ceremony closed to the public Saturday.

The event originally was supposed to take place outside of Gillette Stadium but due to weather has been moved inside the Cross Insurance Pavilion & Business Center and limited to alumni and invited guests.

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Belichick discussed Scarnecchia, who coached with the Patriots for 34 years and won five Super Bowls, and Vrabel, who won three Super Bowls in New England and is now head coach of the Titans, in Friday’s news conference.

On Scarnecchia: “Dante and I go back to when I was here in ’96, with Bill [Parcells]. On the defensive staff, it was Romeo [Crennel], myself, Al [Groh], and Dante. As a defensive staff, that was probably the best staff I’ve ever been on. … When I came back, Dante was the line coach here under Pete [Carroll]. I kept him as the line coach, obviously he’s a great line coach. So, coached special teams, coached defense, coached offense, coached offensive line, very talented coach, sees the full game, sees everything about the game – very good teacher, tough, former Marine. But, he can give tough love, but in a good way, just a great guy to be around.”

On Vrabel: “Obviously he was a great match for Willie [McGinest]. Willie was a good complement to him. Having been through the [Carl] Banks – [Lawrence] Taylor situation at the Giants. That’s a good complement to have two good outside linebackers vs. one. Mike was a very cerebral player, smart player, played inside linebacker for us when we needed him – which wasn’t often, but he could do it. He was the kind of guy that at practice would take reps at every position, free safety, strong safety, occasionally defensive line. If there was a certain player we were trying to replicate, he would jump in there and do that. It was competitive, especially with him and [Tom] Brady, quite entertaining at times, to be honest with you. Mike had a great personality, great love for the game, passionate, high energy, very strong. Mike’s really strong, physically strong player, handled the tackles, obviously could handle tight ends, good power rusher and had enough moves to go with it. His strength was his length and his power and his intelligence. He was a good tackler. … No surprise that he went into coaching, no surprise he’s been successful. Good, smart football player and coach, good fundamentals.”

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