Still only 35 years old but nearly six years removed from his final snap in the NFL, New England Patriots defensive coach Jerod Mayo has risen quickly through the ranks of potential head coaching candidates in the league.
After interviewing for the Philadelphia Eagles' opening this past offseason, Mayo has once again appeared on the annual list compiled by Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network for young coaching prospects who could become a part of the upcoming cycle and eventually, land a head job.
Speaking with the media Monday for the first time since the list was released last week, Mayo addressed his inclusion on the list and spoke about his ambitions of becoming a head coach someday.
"It's definitely an honor," Mayo said. "I definitely aspire to be a head coach in this league. At the same time, I would say I'm really focused on this season. We'll see what happens at the end of the year."
After retiring following an eight-year career spent entirely in New England -- where he won Super Bowl XLIX and made two Pro Bowls -- Mayo became inside linebackers coach for the Patriots in 2019.
He's had some involvement in defensive play calling for New England since, along with outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick, although the team has not had an official defensive coordinator since Matt Patricia's departure for the Detroit Lions following the 2017 season.