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Bill O’Brien addresses Patriots rumors, says he has not spoken ‘to anybody in New England since April’

Related: Report: Bill O’Brien a ‘strong option’ to become Patriots offensive coordinator next season

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game - Miami v Alabama Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien held a 15-minute media session on Wednesday and among the topics discussed were the rumors surrounding him and his former team. O’Brien, after all, is seen as a “strong option” to rejoin the New England Patriots next offseason.

At least on Wednesday, he did not give any substantial insight into his future. O’Brien did, however, point out that he has not been in touch with the Patriots since “probably last April”.

“Those things — almost every year I’ve been in coaching, at least over the last 12 years for me — have come up a lot. And those are things that are addressed after the season,” O’Brien said. “We are very focused on this game. We’ve been focused on every game we’ve played here this year, and last year. So, like I said, it’s kind of that time of the year when things come up and things pop up.

“I haven’t spoken to anybody in New England since probably last April, when I went by and saw those guys, when I was up there. I wish them well in their however many games they have left, but we’re very focused on this game and focused on coaching this team to the best of our abilities.”

The O’Brien-Patriots rumors go back to this offseason, when long-time New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left to take over as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. While the two sides reportedly were in touch, O’Brien stayed put at the University of Alabama.

The circumstances have changed a bit since then. Not only is O’Brien’s contract set to expire after the current season, the Patriots offense has also taken a step back in Year 1 following McDaniels’ departure. With assistant coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge leading a collaborative effort — but neither holding the coordinator title — the unit has been one of the least productive in the NFL as of late.

Bringing O’Brien in would therefore make a lot of sense. Not only is he an established offensive play-caller, he also has considerable experience in New England. He spent five seasons in New England between 2007 and 2011 and in his final season coordinated the offense to a Super Bowl appearance.

O’Brien later spent time at Penn State and with the Houston Texans before joining the Crimson Tide in 2021. Given his background, a return to the NFL sooner rather than later seems to be a realistic projection.

But while O’Brien did say that he has been in touch with people at the pro level, he denied any work-related contact has been established either in New England or anywhere else.

“I have a lot of coaching friends in the NFL. They are some of my closest friends. But relative to working in the NFL, no,” he said. “And relatively to working here, I would say I love it here, I love my experience here. I’m very focused on this game coming up and then whatever conversations happen after this game, those will take place when they take place.

“But really just focused on this game and doing as good a job as I can with the players and the coaching staff to have a productive offense on Saturday.”

Fifth-ranked Alabama will take on No. 9 Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on Saturday. The next day, the Patriots will play the Miami Dolphins in a must-win game at Gillette Stadium.