Patrick Sullivan fought to keep his job as general manager of the New England Patriots. But when he lost his power, he gave up the battle.
Sullivan resigned Tuesday night after eight years in the post, another casualty of the team's effort to discard reminders of the worst season in its 31 years.While Sullivan said he wasn't forced out, new chief executive officer Sam Jankovich's attempt to reduce Sullivan's role was a major factor in his departure.
"I felt very strongly that I wanted to have a role within the organization that was a responsible role," Sullivan said at a news conference. "When I recognized that I really wouldn't have the responsible role that was important, it was time to move on."
Sullivan, 38, was 7 years old when he first worked for the team his father, William H. Sullivan Jr., founded in 1959. He said he would like to remain in football and "absolutely" would consider working for another team.
But he said he had no job offers. Sullivan, whose contract ran through 1996, refused to say what kind of, if any, settlement was reached.
In the days before Jankovich was appointed on Dec. 20, Sullivan met with Jankovich and team owner Victor Kiam, fighting to keep his job. He succeeded for a while.
His departure means the Patriots are without a Sullivan in an active role for the first time. His father remains as club president in a ceremonial role.
"What we should do is thank the Sullivans for 30 years of football" in New England, Jankovich said Tuesday night.
"The New England Patriots are grateful to Patrick Sullivan for his three decades of his contributions to the club," Kiam said.
The Patriots were 1-15 last season, losing their last 14 games and making change inevitable.