New era begins: Patriots promote Mayo to head coach, day after parting ways with Belichick

FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots on Friday promoted Jerod Mayo as their next head coach, one day after parting ways with six-time Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick, the team announced.

“The New England Patriots have named Jerod Mayo the 15th head coach in franchise history,” the team wrote in a post on X.

The team confirmed that Mayo will be formally introduced as head coach on Wednesday at 12 p.m.

“He deserves to be a head coach. He’s a leader. You have to have your guys want to get up and play for you. It’s not easy to do in the NFL when you have other grown men,” veteran defensive lineman Davon Godchaux told the team’s official website. It’s not easy to get up to play for coaches, especially coaches you don’t respect. I think I’m speaking for everybody when I say everybody respects Coach Mayo.”

Linebacker Mack Wilson told the website, “He’s just got that alpha male personality about himself, and he’s one of those coaches who knows how to turn it on and off. He’s definitely a players coach...“In today’s society, in today’s world, I feel like when you have coaches that played the game that have the opportunity to become coaches, I feel like it’s easy to win a team [over].”

At the age of 37, Mayo will become the NFL’s youngest head coach, taking over a title that Sean McVay had held since being named the Rams head coach in 2017, ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted.

NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday night that there was a “succession plan” clause written into Mayo’s contract that would allow the Patriots to fast-track him as head coach.

That clause helped the Patriots avoid the traditional, extensive hiring process for a new head coach in the wake of Belichick’s departure, opening a clear path for Mayo to take the job, according to Rapoport.

“No need to go through the lengthy hiring process -- they established a firm, contractual succession plan in a prior contract & communicated it to the NFL,” Rapoport wrote.

Traditionally, a hiring club would have to request interviews with several candidates while satisfying the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview two minority candidates or women for a coaching vacancy.

Kraft said in a press conference Thursday they planned to move into the hiring process quickly.

“We are looking for someone who can get us back to the playoffs and win,” Kraft said. “I’m very upset when we don’t win games and it carries the whole week. I promise you, our family will be dedicated to doing the best we can do to bring a winning team back.”

Mayo was drafted by the Patriots in the first round of the 2008 draft and began his coaching career as inside linebackers coach with New England in 2019.

In Mayo’s five seasons with the Patriots, the defense finished in the top 10 in total defense four times. Under Mayo’s tutelage in his first coaching season, Dont’a Hightower earned his second career Pro Bowl nod and the defense finished best in the NFL in total defense (275.9 yards per game) and scoring (14.1 points allowed per game).

Mayo played linebacker and appeared in 103 games during his Patriots career, racking up 905 total tackles. He was named captain for seven consecutive seasons and is a 2014 Super Bowl Champion.

Mayo has a clear understanding of the Patriots’ defense (7th in the NFL), which was one of the lone bright spots for the team during their dismal 4-13 season.

Mayo was signed to a contract extension before the 2023 season.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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