This Sept. 30, 2017 file photo shows former Ohio State associate head coach/defensive coordinator Greg Schiano running onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J. Credit: Mel Evans | AP

The New England Patriots never officially announced that Greg Schiano would be joining Bill Belichick’s coaching staff and his exact role was never specified, though he was expected to lead the team’s defense after play-caller Brian Flores departed to take the Miami Dolphins’ head coaching job. Anyway, it’s a moot point: Schiano and Belichick announced the former’s resignation Thursday on the team’s website.

“I have informed [owner Robert Kraft] and Coach Belichick that I am stepping down from my position at the Patriots,” Schiano said. “This is not the result of any one event, but rather a realization that I need to spend more time on my faith and family. I don’t want to look back years from now and wish I had done things differently. Therefore, I am taking time away from the game to recalibrate my priorities.”

Said Belichick: “I respect Coach Schiano greatly and appreciate his contributions to our staff and team. He is a friend who we support completely.”

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Schiano, who went 11-21 in two seasons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach and most recently was Ohio State’s defensive coordinator, would have been the third defensive play-caller for Belichick in as many seasons after the departures of Flores and Matt Patricia for head coaching jobs. In 2017, Belichick called Schiano “one of the very best coaches I think in our profession.” His departure is only the latest for the coaching staff of the Super Bowl champions, who lost Flores and three assistants to the Dolphins plus defensive line coach Brendan Daly to the Chiefs. Safeties coach Steve Belichick, Bill’s son, is the only holdover on the defensive side of the staff, according to the Boston Globe.

As far as Schiano’s replacement goes, ESPN’s Mike Reiss speculates that Belichick himself will lead the defense in 2019. He’s always had a hand in that side of the ball and, with Josh McDaniels in full control of the offense, can spend more of his time working with the defense.

While Schiano’s announcement that he wants to “spend more time on my faith and family” sparked visions of scandal, the MMQB’s Albert Breer said Friday that the reasons for his departure go no further than that.

“My understanding is this is pretty much exactly how he laid it out in the statement; this is family related,” Breer said Friday during an appearance on Boston sports-talk show “Toucher & Rich.” “He has a daughter who is a big-time soccer recruit and will wind up going to a really big school for soccer. [She is in high school] and I think that was a factor. Picking up and moving his family was a factor, and a piece of this at the very least.”

“It’s a strange situation and I’m not trying to downplay that part of it,” Breer continued. “But as far as I can tell right now, there is nothing crazy about this one. . . . Maybe there is [a scandal], but I haven’t been able to find it. I know a lot of people at the Ohio State program, and the idea that he would do this and pull the plug because his family is important to them doesn’t seem foreign to them.”