Matt Patricia worked for 14 years in different capacities for the New England Patriots before he accepted the head coaching job with the Detroit Lions. He began his coaching career with the Patriots as an offensive assistant in 2004. After that, he took on different jobs with the team, including assistant offensive line coach, linebackers coach, and safeties coach. The Patriots then promoted Patricia to defensive coordinator in 2012.

In the offseason, he accepted the head coaching job with the Lions. Months after he was hired by the Lions, reports about a 1996 sexual assault indictment against Patricia surfaced.

The Detroit News first reported the case, which was dismissed before it could go to trial after Patricia’s accuser declined to testify. When asked about it, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said the team was not aware of Patricia’s 1996 sexual assault indictment before he was hired.

In a statement, Belichick vouched for Patricia’s integrity, saying “he conducted himself with great integrity.” In his 14 years with the team, Belichick said his former defensive coordinator “is known to be an outstanding coach, person and family man.” In addition, Belichick said the Patriots recommended him highly to become the head coach of the Lions.

Patricia denies any wrongdoing

In a statement, Patricia denied any wrongdoing, adding that he was falsely accused 22 years ago when he was a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The 43-year-old Patricia also said at a news conference that he’s ready to defend his honor and clear his name in relation to claims made over an incident that never happened. While he’s happy that the case was dismissed, Patricia said he was not given an opportunity to defend himself or clear his name. The Lions' head coach added that he addressed the allegations with his players on Thursday.

During that moment, Patricia took the opportunity to call on his players to be “sensitive and responsible” at this time. “I am 100 percent the head coach of the Detroit Lions,” Patricia said.

Lions support Patricia

The Lions organization, headed by team owner Martha Ford, team president Rod Wood and general manager Bob Quinn, expressed support for Patricia in a joint statement.

“Based upon everything we have learned, we believe and have accepted Coach Patricia's explanation and we will continue to support him,” the joint statement said. The Lions' front office said that the dismissal of the case made it so that Patricia never got the opportunity to clear his name publicly in a court of law.