Jerod Mayo has aspirations to be an NFL head coach, but they'll have to wait at least another year.
The former Patriots linebacker and current inside linebackers coach in New England interviewed with both the Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas Raiders for their head coach openings this winter. He came up short in both instances: The Broncos chose Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett while the Raiders hired Mayo's former colleague, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
It's the second consecutive year Mayo has failed to land a head coach job after he interviewed for the Philadelphia Eagles' opening in 2021.
Speaking with his former "Quick Slants" co-host Tom E. Curran on a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Mayo gave a pretty candid response when asked if he felt he got a "fair shake" at the Broncos and Raiders jobs in light of Brian Flores' recent lawsuit alleging racism in several NFL teams' hiring practices.
"I'm not gonna get too far into the 'fair shake' and the whole B-Flo thing yet," Mayo told Curran. "But what I will say is, I looked at all these interviews as growth opportunities for me. I went into these interviews saying, 'I'm going to put my best foot forward, and whatever happens happens, but it's not gonna be because I didn't put my best foot forward.'
"I feel like I showed out as far as philosophy, Xs and Os, all that stuff. I nailed all of this, which I thought was enough to at least get to a final interview, which obviously it wasn't. Which I'm fine with."
Mayo is aware he lacks the experience of other head coach candidates. The 35-year-old joined the Patriots' staff in 2019 and has just three years as a position coach under his belt. But he can understand why Black assistant coaches with much more experience would be disappointed by meeting a similar fate. (Only one of the league's eight vacant head coach jobs this offseason went to a minority candidate: Lovie Smith in Houston.)
"No matter what industry we're talking about, there are always going to be candidates who have an edge on someone else," Mayo said. "They have some type of relationship, whether they've worked with them in the past or whatever. I don't have that because my circle is here in New England.
"I can absolutely see frustration from a guy like Leslie Frazier, (Eric) Bienemy, Todd Bowles, all of those guys who have been doing this for 20-plus years and not getting the opportunity that they think they deserve. But from my perspective, a guy who's only been coaching three years, I'm not mad about it."
In fact, Mayo believes his interviews with Denver and Las Vegas will help set him up for future success.
"I looked at it as a learning opportunity. I looked at it as an opportunity to talk to other people about football," Mayo said. "They were interviewing me, yet little did they know I was interviewing them as well. Because this is a really small circle, and I've just got to get inside that circle and continue to foster and nourish these relationships."
To hear more from Mayo on the structure of the Patriots' defensive coaching staff, his thoughts on Rodney Harrison's criticism of the defense and more, subscribe to the Patriots Talk podcast or watch it on YouTube below.