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Report: 'Mutual Interest" Between Bill O'Brien, 1 NFL Team

Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien

ATLANTA, GA DECEMBER 04: Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien prior to the start of the SEC Championship college football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs on December 4th, 2021 at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New England Patriots could bring back a familiar face to help fix their offensive woes.

Tom Curran of NBC Sports told Kay Adams that he believes there's "mutual interest" between the Patriots and Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien.

Sources told Curran that head coach Bill Belichick is "absolutely" interested in hiring O'Brien, who worked on his staff in multiple roles from 2007 to 2011. 

"They'd be surprised if that wasn't already in the works, if not a done deal," Curran said.

O'Brien started as an offensive assistant before working his way to Belichick's offensive coordinator in his final season with the Pats. He left the NFL to coach Penn State for two seasons before becoming the Houston Texans head coach in 2014. 

Although O'Brien led the Texans to four AFC South titles in seven seasons, his tenure went awry after assuming the general manager job in 2020. The Texans fired him from both positions after an 0-4 start.

New England's offense has faced intense scrutiny all season. The Patriots rank 24th in total yards with former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia at the helm.

Mac Jones, who played for the Crimson Tide before O'Brien joined Nick Saban's staff, has regressed in his second season. The 24-year-old quarterback has thrown nine touchdowns in a dozen games for a 7-8 team that needs a Week 17 win over the Miami Dolphins to stay in the playoff chase.

Hiring O'Brien would follow New England's pattern of welcoming back former assistants from Belichick's vast coaching tree. But he'd at least offer relevant experience to a unit toiling without an official offensive coordinator this season.