Sunday began with an interesting update on the Patriots and how they might replace Bill Belichick.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero offered multiple bits of intel, including doubling down on prior reports indicating Belichick still could stay in New England. They also revealed franchise owner Robert Kraft has consulted “numerous people” on how to proceed with Belichick, who’s been stripped of some of his power in recent years.

But the most interesting nugget was buried in the final paragraph.

“If Belichick does move on, speculation has centered on (Jerod) Mayo as his successor,” Rapoport and Pelissero wrote. “That’s not a guarantee, though, and other options — particular coaches with Patriots ties, such as Josh McDaniels or Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores — shouldn’t be ruled out.”

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McDaniels, of course, was fired by the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this season. This is the first credible indication of a potential reunion with the Patriots, who employed him as offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2019.

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As for Flores, he worked for New England in a variety of roles from 2008 to 2018. He then spent three seasons as head coach of the Miami Dolphins before a controversial firing that led to a lawsuit in which Belichick was named. Flores spent last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and now is defensive coordinator for the Vikings.

Whether McDaniels and/or Flores truly are candidates to replace Belichick is anyone’s guess. But it’s hard to imagine Rapoport and Pelissero named both coaches for no reason.

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The Patriots will visit the Buffalo Bills on Sunday before finishing their season with a home matchup against the New York Jets.

Featured image via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images