The New England Patriots didn't want inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo to leave this offseason, reportedly giving him an enticing offer to stay while teams requested to interview him for their vacant head coach and defensive coordinator jobs.
They also want Mayo to remain in New England for a long time, too.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft indicated Monday that he wants Mayo to be the head coach of his team someday.
“There’s no ceiling on his ability to be a head coach, and he’ll be a head coach,” Kraft said to reporters at the NFL owners meeting in Arizona on Monday. “I’m sure of that. I hope he’s with us. So we’ll see what happens.”
Mayo, who played for the Patriots from 2008-15, re-joined the team in the coaching role he has now back in 2019. While the Patriots don't have a defensive coordinator, it's believed that Mayo serves as one in some capacity while outside linebackers coach Stephen Belichick helps call defensive plays.
The Patriots' defense has consistently ranked among the best in the league during Mayo's first four seasons as a coach.
As a result, he's consistently been tabbed as one of the league's top emerging coaches and has interviewed for multiple head coach jobs. Late in the 2022 season, Mayo stated that his goal is to be a head coach someday and hopefully soon.
"He'll be a head coach… I hope he's with us."
Robert Kraft on Jerod Mayo#ForeverNE pic.twitter.com/4YC6KeXjfJ
— NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Coverage (@NBCSPatriots) March 27, 2023
It's unknown what the Patriots offered that made Mayo want to return and pull out of the interview process for multiple jobs earlier this offseason. But Kraft knows that Mayo is someone he wants in New England for the long-term, especially as head coach Bill Belichick is set to turn 71 in April.
“Jerod is an individual I think there’s no ceiling for his ability to grow and how competent he is,” Kraft said. “We had the privilege of having him as a player, and I saw how intense he was and the leadership skills he had on the field. I saw him leave us and go into private industry and learn the X’s and O’s of business and then come back and be a coach and do that with us.
“Good coaches get hired away, so I was happy we were able to sit with him and try to keep him here long-term. I’m going to do everything I can to try to make that happen.”
Kraft also gave a vote of confidence in Belichick on Monday as the coach has been dealt more criticism than ever in his 24-year tenure with the Patriots.
“I think Bill is exceptional at what he does,” Kraft said. “And I’ve given him the freedom to make the choices and do the things that need to be done. And his football intellect and knowledge is unparalleled from what I’ve seen. Just, when you talk to him, the small things, analytically, that he looks at.
“But in the end, this is a business. You either execute and win or you don’t. That’s where we’re at. We’re in a transition phase. I think we’ve made some moves this year that I’m personally comfortable with. And I still believe in Bill.”