Jerod Mayo surprised a few people in March by making the jump from NBC Sports Boston analyst to New England Patriots inside linebackers coach.
But Matt Patricia wasn't one of them.
The Detroit Lions head coach worked with Mayo for eight seasons in New England, first as the former linebacker's position coach from 2008 to 2010 and then as his defensive coordinator from 2012 to until Mayo retired in 2015.
Needless to say, Patricia is a big fan of the linebacker-turned-coach, who is Michigan this week for joint practices with the Lions.
"I have a long, great history with Jerod. He's like a son to me," Patricia said at a press conference Tuesday. "I'm just excited for him and his family. I know he's working really hard. He's extremely smart. He was a great player when I had him and I know he's going to be a great coach."
Why does Patricia know this? The former Patriots defensive coordinator admits he saw signs that Mayo, a perennial captain and the primary communicator on New England's defense, may join the coaching ranks one day.
"When he was a player, he was that cerebral type of guy that you always had those conversations (with) about game-planning," Patricia said. "What are the calls and situations? How do we want to handle this, what would we do in those to take guys away? He was just kind of right there every step of the way."
Patricia added Mayo "kept a lot of notes" as a player and appeared to leave no stone unturned.
"He would write down a lot of information," Patricia said. "He loves the game. So, I'm happy for him."
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