The New England Patriots lost a number of high-profile assistants this offseason. So, what's the fuss with their former character coach?
Jack Easterby, regarded as a player favorite and an key member of the Patriots' organization, ended his six-year tenure with New England in February to latch on with the Houston Texans in April as their "executive vice president of team development."
That move apparently didn't sit well with the Patriots, who are "livid" with Bill O'Brien's Texans for hiring Easterby, the Boston Sports Journal's Greg Bedard reported Wednesday, citing a source.
"This totally pissed them off," another source told Bedard.
According to Bedard, though, the Patriots are most "irate" with Easterby himself for taking his intimate knowledge New England's inner workings to an AFC rival with several former Pats assistants -- including O'Brien -- on staff.
As Bedard notes, Easterby had aspirations beyond character coach and hired the same agent (Bob Lamonte) who represents Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio to pursue them. That's well within his right, but "certain influential members" of the Patriots were incensed that he chose the Texans.
"Easterby has so much intel on the inner workings, including the thought processes of the Patriots, their coaches and players, that he’s much more valuable than any coach, player or scout switching teams," Bedard wrote.
Furthermore, Bedard reports Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his son, Jonathan, are particularly upset with Easterby returning for New England's ring ceremony at the Krafts' home earlier this month despite being critical of Robert's alleged involvement in a Florida prostitution scandal.
"The Krafts can tolerate a lot of things, but if you leave for a competitor with state secrets, take issue with some of their personal actions … don’t disrespect their family home by trying to poach someone else on your way out the door," Bedard added.
There's a lot to unpack in Bedard's column, which is worth a full read and also explores the Patriots-Texans tampering war over Caserio. The main takeaway: Circle your calendars for Week 13, when Bill Belichick's Patriots visit Houston for a clash with a bitter backdrop.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.