The New England Patriots aren’t known for being transparent about any of their plans, so an announcement about their coaching staff on Thursday came as a surprise to many.

In that statement, the Patriots said head coach Bill Belichick has already begun contract extension talks with Jerod Mayo to keep him in New England for the long term.

This comes after Mayo, the team’s linebackers coach who also served as co-defensive coordinator, attracted interest from the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers.

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New England Patriots coach Jerod Mayo at State Farm Stadium on December 12, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona.
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Both teams requested to interview him. The Browns are looking for a defensive coordinator and the Panthers wanted to talk to Mayo about the head coach job opening.

Mayo, 36, worked alongside Belichick’s son Steve on defense. Steve Belichick directed the plays on game day, though Mayo has become a trend as a potential head coach in the league.

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Mayo has only known the Patriots in his playing and coaching days, having played eight seasons with them at linebacker, racking up 802 tackles, 11 sacks and eight forced fumbles in 103 games. He also captured a Super Bowl ring and two Pro Bowl nominations.

But that was not all the statement said.

«In addition, the team will begin interviewing offensive coordinator candidates starting next week,» he said.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick prepares for a game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on December 12, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick prepares for a game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on December 12, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona.
(Norma Hall/Getty Images)

With Josh McDaniels taking over as head coach in Las Vegas before this season, Belichick handled offensive duties along with Joe Judge, who was fired by the New York Giants, and Matt Patricia.

But the Patriots saw quarterback Mac Jones slip back a bit. The Patriots averaged 21.4 points per game to finish 17th in the NFL. They also ranked 20th in passing yards with 208 per game.

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Bill O’Brien, who has been in the Patriots’ building in the past as their offensive coordinator before leaving for Penn State’s top job in 2012, is considered one of the frontrunners for the job.

Kliff Kingsbury, who was just fired as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, also has ties to the Patriots from his playing days.

New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo during warm-ups before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas.

New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo during warm-ups before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas.
(Chris Unger/Getty Images)

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The Patriots finished 8-9 this season, narrowly missing the playoffs after losing to the Buffalo Bills in week 18.

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