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Devin McCourty gives his 2 cents on who might succeed Bill Belichick as Patriots head coach

Now off to retirement, McCourty is making the media rounds.

NFL: JUN 07 New England Patriots Minicamp Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Entering his 24th season as head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick has not shown any signs of slowing down. That said, at soon-to-be 71, the end of his career is getting closer and closer.

The big question will not just be when he will step away, but also who is going to fill his immense shoes? For long-time Patriots safety Devin McCourty, who himself announced his retirement earlier this month, the answer is already on the team’s current coaching staff.

“I think it’s Mayo,” he said in a recent appearance on the Green Light podcast hosted by former New England defensive lineman Chris Long.

Jerod Mayo was a teammate of McCourty’s who later turned to coaching. A first-round draft pick in 2008, he established himself as a core member of the team’s defense over the next eight years and earned one Super Bowl ring as well as a pair of Pro Bowl nominations.

A series of injuries forced him to step away after a combined 111 regular season and playoff games, but he returned in 2019 to coach on Belichick’s staff. Mayo originally worked with the inside linebackers, but his responsibilities have since increased: he is now working as linebackers coach and de facto defensive coordinator alongside Steve Belichick.

Could he also be the next head coach of the Patriots? Given that he turned down interview opportunities this offseason to stay with the team on a new contract extension, he appears to be a realistic candidate.

Count McCourty among those who would agree with this assessment.

“I think there’s a chance he might be the Patriots’ head coach some day,” he said.

“Obviously not a ton of coaching experience, but I think he has great experience of leading men. Obviously, he was a great captain for us when I was there, but then he left, got into the business world and was crushing it. Even now, when you talk to him, when he goes on these interviews, it’s not just this football player or this coach coming, you get CEO vibes there. ... He has those abilities that I think as an owner, if I met with him I would want to hire him in a heartbeat.”

Mayo appears to be the favorite to one day succeed Belichick, but both Mayo and Long also acknowledged that they believed Josh McDaniels would be. The Patriots’ former offensive coordinator turned down an opportunity to take over the Indianapolis Colts in 2018 to stay in New England.

However, McDaniels left to fill the Las Vegas Raiders’ head coaching vacancy last offseason. So, while Mayo looks like the frontrunner, there are no guarantees he will eventually take over — especially with the aforementioned Steve Belichick, Bill’s son, on staff as well.

McCourty also sees head coach qualities in the younger Belichick.

“A wild card that probably shouldn’t be a wild card would be Stevie B — Steve Belichick,” he said. “He’s a Belichick. He’s now been the coordinator — I know it’s not on paper — but he’s been the coordinator for the last three or four years, and his defenses have all performed well. It’s a combination between him and Mayo running it, but I think obviously, if you hire him, you still get Bill.

“You still get everything that he’s done. You get his knowledge, because he’s not just going to leave his son. But I think both of those guys will have the chance to be head coaches someday.”

Time will tell who will succeed Belichick — and when — but the Patriots do have some talent waiting in the wings.