By Gregory Hunt
Even though his first foray into being an NFL head coach didn’t go well when he lasted less than two seasons with the Denver Broncos, media reports say New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is considered to be a major candidate for head coaching positions that are becoming available on Black Monday. As of late Monday afternoon, head coaching positions with the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders and New York Jets are vacant, but during the coaching staff’s conference call on Monday, McDaniels insisted that he wasn’t thinking about leaving the Patriots.
“I know that this is that time of the year, but I know that there is also a procedure in place, and those things will sort themselves out,” McDaniels said. “I’ve said a number of times I’m very happy here. I think I’ve got one of the best jobs you could possibly have, and I’m just trying to do the best I can here. My focus has been on the Patriots. It will stay on the Patriots right now.”
Last winter, McDaniels interviewed for the head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns, but he subsequently withdrew his name from consideration. That job eventually went to Mike Pettine, who previously served stints as defensive coordinator with both the Buffalo Bills and the Jets.
One media outlet is reporting that the 49ers are seeking to interview McDaniels. The 49ers recently came to a mutual decision to part ways with head coach Jim Harbaugh, who is expected to be named as new head football coach at his alma mater, the University of Michigan, on Tuesday. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked about this situation during Monday’s conference call.
“That’s something that we’ve dealt with in the past,” said Belichick. “We know what the procedures are on all that, how it all has to work and the sequence and how it takes place and what the boundaries are in terms of the teams doing that. If something does happen then whichever coach it is, we’ll follow the procedures that are set up for the league to take care of this type of situation, but obviously the number one need for me is our football team, what takes place here. Everything else would have to work around that.”
In his head coaching career, Belichick has seen seven of his assistants get NFL head coaching jobs of their own, most notably Romeo Crennel, who had stints with the Browns and Kansas City Chiefs, and Eric Mangini who had stints with the Jets and Browns. Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien is the only former Belichick assistant that is currently a head coach in the NFL. He just completed his first season with the team by leading it to a 9-7 record, a significant improvement over last year’s 2-14 record.
Seven former Belichick assistants have also become NCAA Division I coaches. Kirk Ferentz at Iowa and Nick Saban at Alabama are the ones that are currently coaching at the FBS level. Saban led Alabama to three BCS national championships from 2009-2012 and his 2014 team has qualified for the inaugural College Football Playoff.
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Gregory Hunt is a Boston native and a life-long fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. He’s also particularly fond of lacrosse, IndyCar racing and women’s college basketball. He currently works for Examiner.com where he serves as the Senior Manager of Content and Media Access. He also writes for Examiner.com as the New England Patriots Examiner. His work can be found on Examiner.com.