Curran: O'Brien rejoining Pats 'probably going to happen'


Is Bill O'Brien's return to the New England Patriots coaching staff inevitable?

With Matt Patricia struggling through his first season as an offensive play-caller, O'Brien has often been mentioned as a viable replacement in 2023. The MMQB's Albert Breer reported earlier this month that O'Brien is "very interested" in returning to the NFL. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media added that O'Brien is emerging as a "strong option" to return as Bill Belichick's offensive coordinator next season.

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The rumors gained more steam Tuesday as our Tom E. Curran shared some of his insight on WEEI. According to Curran, some close to the organization believe an O'Brien-Belichick reunion is a foregone conclusion.


“Obviously the speculation continues to be that Bill O’Brien will be brought in,” Curran said. “Folks who are knowledgeable in this that I reached out to in the last couple of days who would have insight, I said, ‘Would Bill [Belichick] want Bill O’Brien?’ Because that question has really not been asked. There’s a perception that, ‘Hey, it’s a done deal. Of course Bill would want him back.’ But I asked and the individual said, ‘Absolutely.’

“And they said, ‘I’m surprised if it’s not in the works or a done deal already.’ So, to me, all the conversations that we’ve had about Bill O’Brien in the media and in the fanbase, behind the scenes there’s an expectation from people who know more than us and know the relationships better that, yeah, that’s probably going to happen.”

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

The Patriots, despite their struggling offense, still have a shot at a playoff berth. They will need to defeat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday to keep their postseason hopes alive.