The New England Patriots on Thursday officially announced the hiring of Bill O’Brien as their new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
After finalizing his contract, O’Brien explained why he chose to return to New England more than a decade after his first stint with the Patriots concluded.
“I’ve had a lot of different experiences, but at the end of the day, the opportunity to come back here presented itself, and it was something I couldn’t pass up,” O’Brien said in an interview with the Patriots’ in-house production team. “So I hope maybe I can bring some of those experiences to the table here and help our football team.”
O’Brien’s first NFL coaching job was as a Patriots offensive assistant in 2007. He was promoted to wide receivers coach in 2008, then was New England’s QBs coach and offensive play-caller for the next three seasons, receiving the official OC title in 2011.
In 2012, O’Brien left the Patriots to become head coach at Penn State. He then spent six-plus seasons as head coach with the Houston Texans. He came back to New England from Alabama, where he was offensive coordinator under Nick Saban in 2021 and 2022.
“I’m looking forward to getting back and working with Bill (Belichick), working for Bill and doing what’s best for the team,” O’Brien said. “That’s what this place is all about.”
The 53-year-old also is a New England native, growing up about an hour north of Gillette Stadium in Andover, Mass.
“Having worked here before, having grown up here, (it’s) just a great opportunity for my family, and I’m very excited,” he said. “Very excited.”
The Patriots’ next step will be assembling O’Brien’s offensive staff. They reportedly plan to hire additional assistants this offseason, with O’Brien having input on those decisions.
O’Brien is part of the Patriots contingent coaching prospects at next week’s East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas. Offensive assistants Joe Judge, Troy Brown, Vinnie Sunseri and Ross Douglas also are part of that group, suggesting they will remain on staff 2023, though not necessarily in the same roles.
Judge will require a reassignment if he sticks around, as he was the Patriots’ QBs coach this season.