It’s been eight seasons since the Denver Broncos fired Josh McDaniels as head coach, paving his return to New England as offensive coordinator in 2011.
McDaniels has since interviewed with multiple teams over the course of several years for their head coaching vacancies, coming oh-so-close to leaving the Patriots for the Indianapolis Colts last February. He recently met with the Green Bay Packers after turning down an interview request from the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Packers reportedly will hire Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur to become the 15th coach in the history of the storied franchise. And with that, McDaniels confirmed he’s done seeking any outside opportunities and will be back with the Patriots next season.
“Yeah, the book is closed,” McDaniels said on Tuesday during his weekly conference call. “It’s always a humbling experience to have an opportunity to interview with anybody for that position. You know, I’m thankful for the opportunity to meet with Green Bay. It always gives you greater insight into another organization and how they do things.
“It’s very educational for me every time I’ve gone through it and I’ve appreciated every single one of them and so that was great. But, no, I’m completely focused on the Chargers and our season and finishing it strong and I’ll be here moving forward.”
The Patriots will meet the Los Angeles Chargers at 1 p.m. on Sunday in an AFC divisional-round game at Gillette Stadium as they seek to advance to the conference championship for an eighth straight season. That’s a run that, coincidentally, coincides with McDaniels’ second stint with the Patriots.
There was chatter among football followers that McDaniels might have been interested in filling the Cleveland Browns’ coaching vacancy since he’s an Ohio native. Whether that was true is unknown. What is known is the Browns were always looking elsewhere.
“No sir, I have had no contact with them,” McDaniels said.
The Colts announced the hiring of McDaniels as their coach on Feb. 6, 2018, two days after the Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
However, McDaniels backed out of the job that same day after being successfully swayed during a last-minute pitch by owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick as he was packing his belongings at Gillette Stadium.
McDaniels is uncertain if his dubious decision scared other teams away from interviewing him this month. All told, there were eight coaching openings this offseason.
“I have no idea,” McDaniels said. “You’d have to, obviously, ask them if that had anything to do with anything like that. I’m grateful for the opportunity that I had, but, more importantly, thankful for the opportunity I have here.
“I’ve said before, I think I have one of the best jobs in the world and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue competing this week against the Chargers.”
Reportedly part of what convinced McDaniels to back out on his commitment to the Colts job is a promise by Belichick to “open (his) world” to his offensive coordinator, who is still only 42 despite having 18 years of NFL experience.
If so, that didn’t mean increased responsibilities.
“I don’t really think that’s changed,” McDaniels said of his duties. “Hopefully, I can improve whatever it is that I’m responsible for, but my role has been the same. That’s to do the best job I can to coordinate the offense and work with the offensive staff and Bill and do whatever they need us to do relative to coaching the football team and trying to improve our players and develop our team that way.
“And then assist in any other role they need us to assist in over the course of the year. So, really the responsibilities are the same, but you always work to try to get better as a coach in a lot of different areas.”