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McDaniels hasn’t told Patriots he’s leaving, yet

Super Bowl LII - New England Patriots - Practice

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - FEBRUARY 02: Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks during the New England Patriots practice on February 2, 2018 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The New England Patriots will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on February 4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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It’s been regarded as a foregone conclusion that, not long after Super Bowl LII ends, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will become the next coach of the Lions and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will become the next coach of the Colts. However, there’s one little interesting nugget that was shared during the NBC Super Bowl pregame.

Patricia has essentially made it known to the Patriots that he’s leaving. McDaniels hasn’t, yet.

This doesn’t mean McDaniels will back out of his apparent arrangement to become the successor to Chuck Pagano, but there’s a strange vibe that has been floating around as it relates to the question of whether McDaniels absolutely, positively is leaving.

It’s been nearly three weeks since reports emerged that McDaniels would be offered, and would accept, the job. Those reports intensified after a second interview, which featured a meeting with owner Jim Irsay. Some have characterize the second interview as a device for getting Irsay to sign off on the hire; others say that the goal of the second interview was to sell McDaniels on Irsay.

None of this means that the not-done-deal is destined to fall apart, but there’s just enough gurgling around to justify keeping eyes and ears open on this one. If McDaniels snubs the Colts, he’ll have a hard time getting another head-coaching job unless and until the Patriots aren’t in the playoffs or they make an early exit. And the thinking is he’d do it only if the Patriots were willing to give him a clear commitment that he’ll be the successor to Bill Belichick.

It would be a surprise if the Patriots would box themselves in this way, since circumstances can change -- and coaches can suddenly have their actual/perceived performance drop once the greatest quarterback in NFL history retires.

However it all plays out, a definitive answer is coming soon. And while there’s no concrete reason for believing McDaniels won’t become the Colts’ next head coach, nothing is ever official until it’s official.