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Report: Bill Belichick Had Concern With Notable Coaching Prospect

Bill Belichick Bill O'Brien

FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, and Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien shake hands after New England's victory at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Sept. 22, 2016. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

When Josh McDaniels left his position as the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator to take the Raiders job, many fans speculated that the position would be immediately filled by Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien - a former Bill Belichick disciple.

But apparently Belichick was reluctant to bring O'Brien back into the fold. According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, Belichick was concerned that O'Brien would only be willing to stick around for one year before taking another head coaching job somewhere else.

“And the concern for Belichick, I’m told, was O’Brien might be just a one-year fix as McDaniels’ replacement,” Breer wrote. “And thus there were never serious discussions with (Alabama coach Nick) Saban on it.”

O'Brien was a Patriots assistant from 2007 to 2011, leaving New England in 2012 to become head coach at Penn State. If anyone knows his tendencies, it's Belichick.

Bill O'Brien spent two years with the Nittany Lions before taking the Houston Texans head coaching job in 2014. He went 15-9 in his two seasons, earning a reputation as a program rebuilder after leading the team out of the embarrassment of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

O'Brien found early success in Houston, leading them to five winning seasons in his first six years with four AFC South titles and two playoff wins. 

But after being appointed the team's general manager in 2020, O'Brien made a number of head-scratching decisions. When the team started 0-4, he was fired.

O'Brien landed on his feet though, joining the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2021 and helped lead them to a historic season that saw quarterback Bryce Young win the Heisman Trophy.