New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Now that he’s taken over the New England Patriots’ head coaching job, one of the first tasks for Jerod Mayo is to build out his coaching staff. That process is already in the works, with reports of his first coordinator interview coming on Monday.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Mayo and the Patriots are set to interview Carolina Panthers’ outside linebackers coach Tem Lukabu for the defensive coordinator job. Rapoport didn’t include the date of the interview in his initial report.


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There are a couple of clear connections between the Patriots and Lukabu. He began his coaching career at Rutgers under Greg Schiano, who was briefly on the Patriots’ coaching staff in 2019 and has been connected to the organization going back to his first stint as the head coach at Rutgers, where Lukabu worked for him in multiple roles. Lukabu also followed Schiano to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he was a defensive assistant.

Lukabu also coached locally, as the defensive coordinator at Boston College from 2020 to 2022. He left BC last year to join the Panthers in his current role.

Beyond those two jobs Lukabu has also worked for a number of top defensive coaching around the NFL. He was a defensive quality control coach for the San Francisco 49ers for a year under Robert Saleh, and was the linebackers coach for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2019 under Lou Anarumo. In between, he was the linebackers coach at Mississippi State, with a defense that features a number of future NFL players including Montez Sweat and Willie Gay.

  • Last year in Carolina Lukabu worked with a group that included Brian BurnsFrankie Luvu, and Yetur Gross-Matos. Those three combined to have 18 of Carolina’s 27 sacks on the season.

    While Lukabu is the first coach to reportedly interview to join Mayo’s staff, he’s not the first candidate for the defensive coordinator job. Earlier on Monday, SI’s Albert Breer reported the Patriots have extended an offer to Steve Belichick, who has been the team’s primary defensive play-caller in recent years – to return in 2024. Breer didn’t specify a role for Belichick, but given his responsibilities in the past, defensive coordinator would be the most logical.

  • 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].

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