New England Patriots

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 22: Offensive coordinator Kevin OConnell looks on before the game against the New York Giants at FedExField on December 22, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Bill Belichick’s former assistants continue to fill coaching staffs around the National Football League. The same can be said for his former players. And one of them could have a chance to return to New England.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted on Tuesday that Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, a former NFL quarterback who spent the 2008 season with the Patriots, has received permission to interview with teams that are hiring offensive coordinators. In New England that position still belongs to Josh McDaniels, but he’s expected to interview with the Browns for a chance to become their next head coach.

Originally drafted in the third round (94th overall) of the 2008 draft, O’Connell served as Matt Cassel’s backup in 2008 after Tom Brady went down with a torn ACL. He never panned out as a QB, also spending brief time with the Lions, Jets, Dolphins, and Chargers.

But as a coach, O’Connell is a rising offensive talent. He first joined the Browns as their quarterbacks coach in 2015, then served as an offensive assistant with the 49ers in 2016. In three seasons with the Redskins, O’Connell ascended from quarterbacks coach to passing game coordinator to offensive coordinator.

The Redskins are going in a new direction with their staff under new head coach Ron Rivera. That includes their reported plans to reunite former Panthers offensive coordinator Scott Turner with Rivera as their new OC.

If McDaniels departs for Cleveland, perhaps a reunion with O’Connell could be in the offing. Either way, the Patriots’ influence continues to spread around the league on numerous coaching staffs.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.