With so many rumors continuously filtering out about Bill Belichick and his future with the Patriots, it appears it is finally getting to the part where possible hit pieces are starting to be written about some of his colleagues. Since Jerod Mayo was presumed to be the guy to eventually take on the head coach role in New England, the first negative stories focused on him.
It was a report that came out of nowhere, published by Boston Sports Journal's Greg Bedard, where it was suggested Mayo has "rubbed some people the wrong way" since he received a contract extension earlier this year.
"Multiple team sources indicated Mayo has rubbed at least some people the wrong way in the building since his extension and when he, perhaps, received a strong indication he would be the successor (the idea was more for 2025 or ’26). Maybe this is of no concern to the Krafts, if their mind was already made up. I have no new information that would lead me to believe the Krafts don’t continue to think highly of Mayo. But you would expect them to do their due diligence on whoever they might have in mind — internal or external. Of course, you can’t rule out that some sources are lining up their own boats and perhaps thinking that Mayo may be setting a new course.”
Prior to this alleged revelation, not a single negative word had been said about the linebacker's coach since he joined the team in a coaching role. On top of that, it seems unlikely that had he been a bit problematic at all, Robert Kraft would have chosen to offer an extension, and Mayo has not been said to have a big ego enough to believe he would suddenly develop one from that.
Because the story started making the rounds, Devin McCourty was asked his opinion on the matter during a recent appearance on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show." The former safety said he found the rumor to be awkward, as he never saw Mayo have issues with any player or coaches during their years with the team.
"I thought that was very awkward, simply because when I hear things like that I first think about like, alright who does this benefit?… I used to always think it was like always players, and then I realized it’s always somebody with a bigger agenda.
For one, I don’t understand what he could irritate people on. His role’s still the same … it was kind of awkward and weird to me because it would have to be somebody, like, deep inside to have any thought of that. Because from a player standpoint, it seems like it’s still working there. Him and Steve (Belichick) are rolling with the defense and they’ve been running the defense."
Considering he and McCourty were teammates before Mayo went on to coach after retirement, he feels like a reliable source about who Mayo is and how others within the organization felt about him. It also lines up with how Kraft must view him, too, since he did all he could to keep him on the coaching staff this past summer, which ultimately made Mayo cancel an interview with the Panthers for their vacant head coach position.
Then there's the other point McCourty made about a rumor like this being put out there for a purpose, and it's hard to determine what that reason would be.
The immediate assumption is that someone close to Bill Belichick grew tired of the constant badgering of the coach, from questioning his future with the team and the NFL to diminishing his entire career due to the failures of the last few seasons. It wouldn't be shocking if someone decided to defend him by putting out a false story about his potential replacement.
That seems to make the most sense given the barrage of negativity surrounding Belichick and his career outlook and seems to verify another rumor that has said he will make sure whatever happens this offseason with the Patriots; he will make it very difficult on Kraft regardless of the decision.
Sadly, we'll never know the root of this or its reason, but it's probably the start of a long line of negative pieces with the season nearing its end. So, buckle up because it's probably going to get ugly.