Robert Kraft has been able to gain a real understanding into what drives Jerod Mayo and vice versa. That relationship ultimately led Kraft and the New England Patriots to hire Mayo as the 15th head coach in franchise history.

When introducing Mayo at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, however, Kraft reflected on a specific moment in time when he knew Mayo should be the next to lead the franchise.

“While I’ve known Jerod for nearly 16 years, the week we spent together in the Holy Land in 2019 really helped strengthen my convictions about how special Jerod is as a person and how capable I thought he would be as a head coach in this league,” Kraft said during his opening statement, per a team-provided transcript.

Kraft was referencing when he took members of the Patriots organization to Israel in June 2019.

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“With Jerod, I knew while observing him in Israel, he was the right person to be the next head coach of the New England Patriots. That decision has only strengthened as I’ve observed him over the last five years.”

Kraft added: “I think we’ve got someone very special who understands how to manage young people today. The world is different than 20 years ago, even 10 years ago. In all our businesses, we try to create a culture that people want to stay with and be there long-term, and I think that Jerod has the makeup and chemistry, and it’s genuine. What he has is genuine.”

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Kraft and company named Mayo as the successor to head coach Bill Belichick even before Belichick’s tenure in New England was over. The clause in Mayo’s contract allowed the organization to hire Mayo one day after parting ways with Belichick. Kraft explained how it was an instinctual decision, and confirmed he did not want to go against his instincts and hold a coaching search.

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