It sounds like Tom Brady wouldn’t mind having one of his earliest NFL understudies back in New England.

During his weekly radio appearance on WEEI’s “Mut & Callahan,” Brady had high praise for quarterback-turned-coach Kliff Kingsbury, who spent one season on the Patriots’ injured reserve after being drafted in the sixth round in 2003.

Kingsbury, who spent the last six years as head coach at his alma mater, Texas Tech, before being fired and landing at USC, is a candidate to replace longtime Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels if McDaniels leaves to take a head-coaching job, according to a report from ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio.

“I played with Kliff, and we’ve been friends ever since,” Brady said Monday. “I see him from time to time. (Former Patriots and Texas Tech wide receiver) Danny (Amendola) still keeps in touch with him. He’s been a friend of mine for a long time.

“Kliff has done a great job at Texas Tech, and I know he’s at USC, but it doesn’t surprise me that a lot of teams are interested. He’s just a great football mind, and he’ll be successful wherever he’s at.”

Kingsbury posted a mediocre 35-40 record with the Red Raiders but was known as an offensive innovator who played a key role in the development of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who’s since become an NFL MVP candidate for the Kansas City Chiefs. The 39-year-old also helped Johnny Manziel electrify the college football world during his time as Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator.

USC, which hired Kingsbury last month to be its offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, reportedly denied requests by the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals to interview him for their head-coaching vacancies. According to Florio, Kingsbury could resign from his current position in order to pursue NFL opportunities.

The Patriots have not needed to appoint a new offensive coordinator since McDaniels left to coach the Denver Broncos in 2009, only to return three seasons later. McDaniels reportedly interviewed with the Green Bay Packers over the weekend and has been linked to the Cleveland Browns’ opening, as well, though no interview request has been reported.

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