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 as a viable Belichick successor since 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.”
Maaddi reported from Tampa, Fla.
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