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Patriots LB coach Jerod Mayo is strong candidate to be Bill Belichick's successor as head coach

Four days after the end of the 2023 season and 24 campaigns after beginning his historic tenure, Bill Belichick parted ways with the New England Patriots on Thursday.

It might not take long for his successor to be named, however.

Jerod Mayo, a Patriots assistant since 2019 and former New England player, is a strong candidate to replace Belichick, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday.

Rapoport added that if Mayo, 37, is owner Robert Kraft and the Pats' choice, the team could simply hire him. There would be no need to navigate a lengthy hiring process as the Patriots have already established a firm, contractual succession plan in a prior contract and communicated it to the NFL. There is league precedent, as noted by Rapoport: Jim Mora succeeding Mike Holmgren as Seattle Seahawks head coach (2009); Jim Caldwell taking over for Tony Dungy as Indianapolis Colts head coach (2009); and Eric DeCosta succeeding Ozzie Newsome as the Baltimore Ravens general manager (2019).

In somewhat unconventional fashion for the Belichick regime, the Patriots announced in January 2023 that the team had begun contract extensions with Mayo that "would keep him with the team long-term."

Roughly two months later, Kraft told senior national columnist Judy Battista that Mayo was, indeed, a "strong candidate."

Mayo played eight seasons for the Patriots and Belichick, earning a pair of Pro Bowl selections and winning a Super Bowl. In 2019, he rejoined the franchise as an inside linebackers coach.

And so, on a massive day for the Patriots organization, it might be that another pivotal day will come quickly as Mayo could go from LB coach to the next NE HC.

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