New England reached into the college ranks to find its latest coaching addition, hiring former Notre Dame defensive coordinator Corwin Brown as its defensive backs coach, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Meanwhile, Patriots tight end coach Shane Waldron has left the team, according to team officials, creating another position on the staff for Bill Belichick to fill.
The Patriots confirmed that they've added Brown to their defensive coaching staff but did not indicate what role he will fill. The team still has some moving parts in play with the departure of defensive coordinator Dean Pees, and linebackers coach Matt Patricia and defensive line coach Pepper Johnson are thought to be the frontrunners to succeed Pees.
Waldron, who had previously been an assistant with the team and played football at Tufts, was in his first year as tight end coach. The team did not give a reason for his departure.
Brown coached the New York Jets' defensive backs from 2004-2006 and worked with former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis during Weis' tenure as coach at Notre Dame.
Brown also played for the Jets in 1997 and '98, when Patriots coach Bill Belichick was then the team's assistant head coach and defensive backs coach.
Josh Boyer was the Patriots' defensive backs coach in 2009. It was his first season in that role after working as a coaching assistant. He could be affected by this move, although it is unclear how. One possibility is that the role of secondary coach could be split into two -- with a cornerbacks coach and a safeties coach.
Adding a coach with expertise in the secondary was something that Belichick probably felt was important based on the departure of Pees. When the Patriots broke down for positional meetings, Pees was often with the defensive backs.
However the coaching responsibilities break down with the defensive backs, one of Brown's biggest challenges figures to be with 2007 first-round draft choice Brandon Meriweather. Brown, a former safety himself in Belichick's defensive system, could play a key role in his development. Meriweather has shown flashes of excellence but also inconsistency at safety.
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.