Greg Schiano returns to Rutgers

Getty Images

Former Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano missed his chance to serve as the coordinator of one of the all-time great NFL defenses when he abruptly left New England. Schiano has now abruptly returned to Rutgers.

Per mulitple reports, Schiano has gone back where he started as a head coach, agreeing to terms to take over the New Jersey program that has gone from Big East powerhouse to misplaced bottom-dweller in the Big 10.

His career peaked in 2012, when his 10-year turnaround of Rutgers opened the door to becoming the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That arrangement lasted only two years, with Schiano being fired after winning 11 of 32 games.

Schiano resurfaced in 2016 at Ohio State, where he served as defensive coordinator/associate head coach to Urban Meyer. He joined the Patriots in February after the departure of de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores for Miami, but Schiano abruptly resigned in late March.

Two years ago, Schiano was on track to become the head coach at Tennessee, until fans and boosters shouted it down. Now, fans and boosters apparently have shouted Schiano’s Rutgers return into happening after negotiations had fallen apart.

While full details regarding his short tenure in New England never emerged, Schiano has always enjoyed a strong relationship with coach Bill Belichick, who has shown an affinity for Rutgers players. Belichick’s son, Steve, walked on as a long snapper while Schiano previously coached at Rutgers.

Now 53 and six years removed from last coaching in the NFL, it seems that Schiano won’t be back. But if he does for the Big 10 version of Rutgers what he did for the program when it was in the Big East, all it would take is one NFL team to think he can have similar success at the next level. After all, Belichick was fired from his first NFL head-coaching job, too.