Robert Kraft Wants Jerod Mayo To Be Future Patriots Head Coach

'I hope he's with us'


March 27

Bill Belichick has not revealed how much longer he plans to coach. But the New England Patriots already have their preferred successor on staff.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Monday said he hopes linebackers coach Jerod Mayo eventually will be New England’s head coach.

“There’s no ceiling on his ability to be a head coach, and he’ll be a head coach,” Kraft told reporters at the NFL annual meeting in Phoenix. “I’m sure of that. I hope he’s with us. So we’ll see what happens.”

Despite having just four years of coaching experience, Mayo already is widely viewed as a head coach in the making. He interviewed for head-coaching jobs in 2021 (Philadelphia) and 2022 (Denver, Las Vegas). The Carolina Panthers requested to interview Mayo for their vacancy earlier this year, but he turned them down after agreeing to a long-term contract extension with the Patriots.

It’s unclear how Mayo’s title and responsibilities will change following that extension. But for him to pass up the chance to interview for a top job elsewhere, he must feel confident in his ability to climb the coaching ranks in New England.

Mayo has served as a de facto co-defensive coordinator alongside Steve Belichick for the last several seasons, though neither has held that official title. Before joining Bill Belichick’s staff, the 37-year-old was a Pro Bowl linebacker and highly respected team captain for the Patriots. Between his playing and coaching careers, Mayo worked in the healthcare services industry at Optum.

“Jerod is an individual I think there’s no ceiling for his ability to grow and how competent he is,” Kraft told reporters, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “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.”

Belichick, who turns 71 in April, is just 18 wins shy of matching Don Shula for the most in NFL history. Kraft said he still believes in Belichick and hopes he can break that record for the Patriots, but he also stressed that team success takes precedence over any personal accomplishments.

“Look, I’d like him to break Don Shula’s record, but I’m not looking for any of our players to get great stats,” Kraft said. “We’re about winning and doing whatever we can to win. That’s what our focus is now. It’s very important to me that we make the playoffs. That’s what I hope happens next year.”

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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