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Ernie Adams, Bill Belichick’s longtime adviser, will retire after 21 seasons with the Patriots

Ernie Adams (right) and Bill Belichick walk the field before a 2014 game. Adams is retiring after 21 seasons with the team.
Ernie Adams (right) and Bill Belichick walk the field before a 2014 game. Adams is retiring after 21 seasons with the team.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Ernie Adams, longtime confidant and colleague of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, is retiring.

“The last 21 seasons with the New England Patriots have been extraordinary for me,” Adams said Monday in a statement to the Globe. “I am fortunate to have been part of a team along with Bill Belichick, outstanding colleagues, patient owners, and a lot of great players. It is time for me to stop working and join the many wonderful fans who have been with us for this run.”

Adams, 68, has been with the organization as football research director for the duration of Belichick’s tenure. The two also worked together on staff at the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns, after first meeting as high school students at Phillips Academy in Andover.

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Belichick had hinted at a possible retirement on Saturday, when he shared that this year’s draft would be Adams’s last. Belichick lauded his friend for his transcendent role in the draft process, from developing a grading scale to scouting players to teaching other staff members, such as former directors of player personnel Scott Pioli and Nick Caserio.

Ernie Adams' relationship with Bill Belichick goes back to the 1970s.
Ernie Adams' relationship with Bill Belichick goes back to the 1970s.Jim Davis

But Belichick was sure to note Adams’s contributions extended beyond the draft, too.

“I think Ernie’s contributions are historic,” Belichick said. “They traverse several decades and so many different areas in every corner of the room and then some. He’s literally been involved in every single aspect of the football program at every level that you could possibly be involved in. He’s done an outstanding job on all of them.”

To commemorate his final draft, Adams hand-selected New England’s final pick, wide receiver Tre Nixon out of Central Florida, in the seventh round with the 242nd overall pick. Adams called Nixon before passing the phone over to Belichick, who informed him of the special honor.

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“You just talked to coach Adams,” Belichick told Nixon. “He personally selected you. He made this pick.”

Jim McBride contributed to this report.

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Nicole Yang can be reached at nicole.yang@globe.com.