Report: Bill O'Brien 'emerging as option' to return as Pats OC


The New England Patriots could bring back an old friend to fix the struggling offense in 2023.

Bill O'Brien is a "strong option" to return to Bill Belichick's coaching staff as offensive coordinator next season, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

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"When O'Brien joined (Nick) Saban's staff at Alabama in 2021, he gave Saban a commitment to finish out his two-year contract," Rapoport wrote. "That time is coming up, and sources say there has been no extension and that a return to the NFL is a real thought for O'Brien."

O'Brien served on Belichick's staff from 2007 to 2011, when he earned the offensive coordinator title. The Andover, Mass. native left New England after the 2011 season to become Penn State's head coach for the next two years. He returned to the NFL as head coach of the Houston Texans from 2014-20. Currently, he is the offensive coordinator for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Patriots offense has scuffled under play-caller Matt Patricia and quarterbacks coach Joe Judge. Second-year quarterback Mac Jones has taken a significant step back after an encouraging rookie year with ex-Pats OC Josh McDaniels.

New England finds itself on the playoff bubble with a 7-7 record heading into Week 16. Its final three regular-season games will come against the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills.


Saturday's game vs. Cincinnati kicks off at 1 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium.