It was at the 11th hour that Patriots offensive coordinator (and quarterbacks coach) Josh McDaniels rejected the Indianapolis Colts’ job offer to be their new head coach. It was a move that surprised the Colts, and sent their local media and former Colts into a frenzy that painted McDaniels as an absolute monster that committed one of the worst acts in football history.

But to get McDaniels to reject yet another opportunity to be a head coach, the Pats must’ve upped their offer. And then some.

Well, one of the biggest reasons behind the 41-year-old McDaniels’ decision to stay in New England in a lesser role, according to one report, was because McDaniels was going to be groomed to be Bill Belichick’s replacement. The 66-year-old Belichick was going to ‘open his world’ to McDaniels, and teach him how to run a franchise from top to bottom.

Given the fact that you’re talking about learning roster-building and development from a coach that’s recorded the second-most wins in NFL history — and has won five Super Bowl titles during an 18-year run in Foxboro —  that’s an easy accept from anybody. Especially when considering that McDaniels failed — and badly — as an NFL head coach the first time around.

Belichick, however, seemed to pump the brakes on that idea when speaking with the media at training camp this week.

“Josh’s role is the same as what it’s been,” Belichick said when asked if McDaniels’ role has changed for this upcoming year. “I’ve had a long relationship with Josh and a good one. I think he’s a great coach. I love working with Josh.”

Belichick also had no interest in any sort of answer when asked if McDaniels was being groomed to be the team’s next coach.

“I’m trying to coach our football team the best I can to help it have a good year in 2018,” Belichick said. “That’s what my job is.”

Belichick wouldn’t even touch a question that prodded him on his own involvement in keeping McDaniels with the Patriots.

“You’d have to talk to Josh about Josh’s situation, his decision-making [to stay in New England] and all that. That’s a question for him. I couldn’t answer that.”

Now, Belichick’s world could in fact be opened to McDaniels. But it’s still very much closed to the media.