New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

  • There have been plenty of rumors lately Bill O’Brien returning to New England next season and taking over as the teams offensive coordinator. As much as those rumors may make sense, that move can’t actually happen without the two sides speaking to one another – something that apparently hasn’t happened in some time.

    On Wednesday O’Brien – who is in his second year as the offensive coordinator at Alabama – spoke with reporters ahead of the Crimson Tide’s Sugar Bowl appearance against Kansas State Saturday night. Right away, O’Brien was asked about the reports over the weekend that he’s a “strong option’ to take over as the OC in New England next year following the poor performance of the offense in 2022 under Matt Patricia.

    “It’s kind of that time of the year when things come up and things pop up,” O’Brien acknowledged, before adding, “I haven’t spoken to anybody in New England since probably last April when I went by and saw those guys when I was up there. So I wish them well in however many games they have left. But we’re very focused on this game and focused on coaching this team to the best of our ability.”

    That comment puts O’Brien’s last interaction with the Patriots’ decision makers back before the 2022 NFL Draft. That may seem off, given the prevalence of rumors that have circled over the last month or so. However, it’s in line with how Bill Belichick has traditionally done business, as ESPN’s Mike Reiss explained on 98.5 The Sports Hub earlier this week.

  • (Click here to subscribe to Patriots Audio on 98.5 The Sports Hub.)

  • “If you were to ask Bill Belichick…when was the last time you talked to Bill O’Brien, I’m going to guess it was probably in the spring,” Reiss said, offering a situation where Belichick gave an accurate answer. “I don’t know if people realize – Bill Belichick is so locked in on what he’s doing, I don’t think he’s even – that’s in his mind right now.” You can hear Reiss’ full appearance above.

    O’Brien, who is in the last year of his contract at Alabama, later added that he wouldn’t rule out a return to the NFL in general. At the same time, he reiterated the point that he’s currently focused on Alabama’s matchup against Kansas State on Saturday.

    Whenever the contact is made, O’Brien has been tabbed as a logical fit to turn around the Patriots’ offense. He coached in New England from 2007 to 2011, spending his final three years as the offensive play-caller. O’Brien also has a pre-existing relationship with quarterback Mac Jones – it was Jones who taught O’Brien the Alabama offense when he first took the job in Tuscaloosa following the 2021 season, as Jones was also preparing for the draft. Not only would O’Brien bring with him the standards typically associated with offense in New England, he’s also deeply a familiar with the concepts at Alabama in which Jones played his best football.

    So for now, it appears there may not be much going on between O’Brien and the Patriots. Once both of their seasons are in the books though, any reported communication will be something to watch for.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.