The Patriots are making a big-time addition to their coaching staff.
Former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo announced Wednesday he will return to the team as a coach.
“It is with great excitement, passion, and sense of purpose to share with you that I have accepted Coach (Bill) Belichick’s offer to rejoin the New England Patriots as a Coach,” Mayo wrote on his Instagram account. “I am eager to get started and work hard alongside so many of my former coaches and teammates, all who I know to be solely focused on maintaining the winning culture we have come to know as the Patriot Way.”
He added: “I want to thank my loved ones, the Kraft Family, Bill Belichick and
most importantly my wife Chantel and our four children, for their constant support as we enter this exciting new chapter of our lives.”
Mayo will coach linebackers, according to NBC Sports Boston.
An all-time great Patriot, Mayo retired after eight seasons at age 29. Injuries cut his career short, as he landed on injured reserve in each of his final three seasons. Mayo was widely respected as a player not only for his All-Pro ability, but for his leadership and energy.
“He’s really the guy that the team probably revolves around more than any other player,” Belichick said in 2014. “Not that there aren’t other players that are instrumental in that, but I think he touches pretty much everybody. Not just the defensive players, but all of the guys.”
This past year, when discussing dynamic personalities in the locker room, Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater listed Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Devin McCourty, then added this: “I think Jerod Mayo may have been the greatest leader I’ve ever been around in my professional career. There’s just something to those guys, their ability to connect with their teammates and relate to all corners of the locker room, it’s really special.”
Mayo spent the past few years working as an analyst at NBC Sports Boston.
Several former Patriots congratulated him on social media.
“Dope!” wrote Rams cornerback Aqib Talib. “Let me coach (your) DBs in a couple years when you’re head coach.”
“It was inevitable,” wrote former Pats linebacker Tedy Bruschi. “You’re going to be great, my brother.”
The Patriots’ defensive staff is undergoing substantial turnover this year. Former defensive playcaller and linebackers coach Brian Flores took the head coaching job in Miami and former cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer joined him. Also, former defensive line coach Brendan Daly left for a similar position in Kansas City.
Safeties coach Steve Belichick is the only returning member of the defensive staff.
The Patriots have hired Greg Schiano, presumably to take over as the defensive coordinator. Mayo overlapped as a player with the leader of the defensive room, linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
“Let’s go to work big (brother)…I mean coach,” Hightower wrote on Instagram.
Mayo takes over an ascending unit that includes Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and second-year pro Ja’Whaun Bentley, who flashed early in his rookie season before hitting injured reserve.
The Pats also hired longtime Schiano confidant Bob Fraser, according to a source. Fraser coached with Schiano at Rutgers, Ohio State, and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Bret Bielema, who worked as a defensive consultant on last year’s staff, could be in line for an increased role. Bielema was a highly successful coach in the college ranks, leading programs at Wisconsin and Arkansas from 2006-2017.