Alabama Football offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien continues to hit the recruiting trail for the Crimson Tide even as rumors swirl about the 53-year-old coach filling a potential vacancy in the New England Patriots staff, 247Sports NCAA analyst Brad Crawford wrote in a Thursday article.

The Patriots have three offensive coordinator candidates, according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport: Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, Patriots tight end coach Nick Caley and Bill O’Brien.

“Then you have Bill O’Brien, who is certainly a prime candidate here,” Rapoport said in a Wednesday edition of NFL Network. “Most people believe he is the favorite, I would say, to get the offensive coordinator job.

“Not that anything is done at all — I’m just saying he has firmly established position as someone that many people inside the organization wanted back. Currently the Alabama offensive coordinator, who is out right now recruiting.”

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The six-year Houston Texans head coach has been Alabama football’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach since 2021. Bill O’Brien played a key role in securing five-star quarterback Ty Simpson for the 2022 class, according to 247Sports. He played as a secondary recruiter for 2024 five-star quarterback Julian Sayin and 2023 four-star QB Eli Holstein.

O’Brien played a part in New England head coach Bill Belichick’s staff since he joined as an offensive assistant in 2007, the year the undefeated Patriots were taken down by the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. Multiple members of that Patriots staff, including O’Brien, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, pro scout Brian Flores and linebackers coach Matt Patricia, all earned head coaching roles later in their careers, according to Pro Football Reference.

O’Brien said he hadn’t visited the Patriots facility since April in late-December press conference.

“I wish them well in their last, however many games they have left,” O’Brien said. “But we’re very focused on this game and coaching this team to the best of our ability.”