Hand-picked successor Jerod Mayo officially will be elevated to head coach by the New England Patriots, one day after the organization bid farewell to Bill Belichick, according to multiple reports Friday.
Mayo, 37, was identified in 2023 as the coach-in-waiting as part of owner Robert Kraft’s succession plan in the event Belichick wasn’t retained. Mayo is expected to be introduced as head coach next week.
Under NFL rules, the contractual replacement plan erases the requirement for the Patriots to follow league hiring rules. It is not known if Kraft interviewed additional candidates or discussed the opening with other members of the current Patriots’ staff, many of whom are under contract even after Belichick’s departure.
The “Patriot Way” will be nothing new for Mayo. He played linebacker for the Patriots and served as inside linebackers coach and has not coached — or played — outside the organization.
Mayo said after the season-ending loss to the Jets that he felt prepared when his opportunity came, perhaps knowing it was imminent.
“When I think about when I do get my opportunity, I don’t know when that’s going to be, honestly, I’m kind of like a dry leaf blowing in the wind, wherever (it) takes me,” Mayo said. “But at the same time, I feel like I’m prepared. I feel like I’m ready. I look forward to the opportunity, wherever that may be.”
Kraft shared that Mayo was a candidate to eventually replace Belichick at the league’s March meetings in 2023.
Belichick, who turns 72 in April, drafted Mayo 10th overall in 2008 out of Tennessee and the two-time Pro Bowl pick played with New England until 2015. Mayo has been on the Patriots’ staff since 2019.
He was a member of the Patriots’ Super Bowl XLIX-winning roster in 2015.
–Field Level Media
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