It's no accident that many of Bill Belichick's former assistants go on to become NFL head coaches.

It's also no accident that many Patriots players leave New England to follow those coaches.

Case in point: Brian Flores, who left his defensive coordinator position with the Patriots in 2019 to become the Dolphins' head coach and since has recruited five of his former players to Miami.

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Three former Patriots -- linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts and center Ted Karras -- went from New England to Miami in free agency this offseason.

And wouldn't you know it: All three pointed to Flores as the reason they left the six-time Super Bowl champion Patriots.

"My number one reason, like I keep saying, is Coach Flores," Roberts told reporters in a conference call Thursday, via WEEI.com's Ryan Hannable. "He just made me feel so comfortable with coming down and knowing what type of leader he is and the type of staff that’s here already.

"That was my number one main reason. ... I’m 100 percent bought in. I can’t wait to get down (there) and I love that I’m a Miami Dolphin."

While Roberts will make just $2 million in Miami on a one-year deal, he clearly believes his former defensive coordinator can get the best out of him.

Van Noy, meanwhile, had $51 million reasons to join the Dolphins in free agency. But the linebacker insisted playing for Flores motivated him to leave the Patriots despite a successful tenure in New England.

 

"I feel like you guys are getting a sense of how he is as a person and as a coach, and you probably kind of wish you could play for him if you played football," Van Noy told reporters, via WEEI.com. "Just the type of attitude he has, the grit he has, the competitiveness he has. I mean, who doesn’t want to play for a coach like that?

"He’s ready to go all the time, and he brings that same energy each and every day. That’s what you want as a coach, and as a player, that’s who I want to play for."

Karras didn't work with Flores directly in New England, but even he gained respect for the 39-year-old head coach after his Dolphins beat the Patriots last season in Week 17.

"They were a tough team and that was a tough loss for us," Karras said. "... That earned a lot of respect from me, so I’m looking forward to being a part of a team with those guys."

That's a lot of praise for a coach whose team went 5-11 last season. But five of the Dolphins' wins came in their last nine games, and Flores apparently showed three players enough to convince them to leave a perennial Super Bowl contender.

Can Miami compete with New England in what's now a wide-open AFC East without Tom Brady? That remains to be seen.