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Patriots hiring Jerod Mayo as next head coach, replacing Bill Belichick

Jan 12, 2024, 8:39 AM

Jerod Mayo looks on...

Linebackers coach Jerod Mayo looks on during the game against the Washington Commanders at Gillette Stadium on November 05, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots have agreed to hire Jerod Mayo to succeed Bill Belichick as the team’s first Black head coach, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Details were still being worked out on Friday, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team hasn’t announced the decision. Mayo played eight NFL seasons and won a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots during the 2014 season.

Mayo’s hire comes a day after Belichick agreed to part ways with the Patriots after a 24-year run that included six Super Bowl wins.

Mayo immediately rose to the top of the list of viable Belichick successors after the Patriots took the unique step of announcing they were giving the assistant a long-term extension last offseason. Mayo, along with Belichick’s son and fellow linebackers coach Steve Belichick, handled the play calling duties for the Patriots defense over the past two seasons.

Despite New England’s 4-13 record this season, the team’s defense has remained highly ranked in several categories despite losing top linebacker Matt Judon and rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez early to season-ending injuries.

Though it’s unclear what the terms of Mayo’s deal prior to last season entailed, it came after the 37-year-old interviewed for multiple head coaching jobs in Philadelphia and Carolina each of the past two years.

In announcing the decision to part ways with Belichick on Thursday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft promised to move quickly on trying to fill the hole.

Kraft said that the mandate for the next coach would be a return to the postseason for a Patriots team that has missed the playoffs in three of the past four seasons and hasn’t won a playoff game since the 2018 season.

“We’re looking for someone who can help us get back to the playoffs and win,” Kraft said. “Believe me, after my family, this is really one of the two most important assets in my life. I am very upset when we don’t win games. It carries the whole week. So, I promise you I’ll be focused to do the best I can do to make sure we’re putting ourselves in the best long-term position to win for many years.”

Mayo isn’t expected to have the same control over personnel matters like Belichick did for most of his tenure with the Patriots. Along with being coach, Belichick also served as New England’s de facto general manager.

But Kraft pointed out on Thursday that Belichick didn’t receive that power until after he won his third Super Bowl with the team following the 2004 season and that Belichick “earned it and it worked pretty well for most of the time.”

That means a new general manager hire, or some other restructuring of the front office, is likely next on Kraft’s plate.

“I think it’s good to have checks and balances,” Kraft said.

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