Bill O'Brien is going back to the NFL.
In one of the least surprising moves of the football offseason, O'Brien has been hired as the New England Patriots' new offensive coordinator, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Low.
O'Brien spent the last two season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama. A Patriots assistant from 2007-11, he was the rumored frontrunner to take over coordinating duties in New England for the last several weeks.
After leaving New England, O'Brien served as the head coach of Penn State in 2012-13 before being hired by the Houston Texans.
In his first six seasons as Texans head coach, O'Brien went 52-44 in the regular season and won four AFC South titles. However, his teams went just 2-4 in the postseason, and he was fired after an 0-4 start in 2020.
O'Brien's hiring is part of Bill Belichick's effort to overhaul New England's offensive coaching process. The Patriots did not employ a traditional OC in 2022, relying on Matt Patricia to call plays while Joe Judge worked with the quarterbacks.
New England's offense plummeted under the new arrangement, which led to the team announcing earlier this month that it would be adding a true offensive coordinator.
In addition to speaking with O'Brien, the Patriots also reportedly interviewed their tight ends coach Nick Caley for the role, along with Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, Cardinals assistant head coach Shawn Jefferson and University of Oregon associated head coach/offensive line coach/run-game coordinator Adrian Klemm.