New England Patriots

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick issued a statement on Thursday regarding a new report on past sexual assault allegations against former New England defensive coordinator, now-Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia.

The Detroit News posted a story on Wednesday about a 1996 indictment on sexual assault charges against Patricia and one other man, which did not go to trial. The Lions quickly came to the head coach’s defense, while Patricia also strongly defended himself at a press conference on Thursday.

“The New England Patriots were not aware of the matter which recently came to light,” Belichick’s statement reads, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “For 14 years in our organizations, Matt conducted himself with great integrity and is known to be an outstanding coach, person and family man. We have always been confident in Matt’s character and recommended him highly to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions.”

The 2018 NFL season will be Patricia’s first as head coach in Detroit after six full seasons as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator.

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