July 22, 2024

Rob Gronkowski saw Jerod Mayo’s coaching future years ago: ‘You could always tell’

Mayo’s transition into coaching didn’t happen immediately. It took him nearly three years to join the Patriots’ staff as an inside linebackers coach, but the same qualities that made him into a Pro Bowler became evident rather quickly. After five seasons as an assistant, the Patriots knew they had their replacement for Bill Belichick once he departed, turning to Mayo as their next leader.

The cerebral element often separates good from great at the highest levels of sport, and New England is banking on that strength to power Mayo in his new role. If anyone else needs proof, just ask Gronkowski.

“When he was playing, that’s what what made him a better player, too,” Gronkowski said of Mayo. “… If you know where to be on the football field, that can make you a better player because you’re already in position to make the play.”

Not enough? Here’s Edelman, who made some cameo appearances on defense in the 2011 season and only felt comfortable in his role after verifying with Mayo.

“I always had to look at Jerod,” Edelman said. “I knew what I had to do, but I’d always ask to get the approval from Jerod, because if Jerod said that, you knew it was right.”

The Patriots have become a bit of a rudderless ship since the departure of Tom Brady, making just one playoff appearance from 2020-2023 and parting with Belichick after last season. They’re hoping Mayo is the man to get them back on course, and if Gronkowski is to be believed, they’ve made a well-informed decision.

“Jerod Mayo was the Tom Brady on the defensive side of the ball,” Gronkowski said.

We’ll see if that turns the Patriots back into a winner in the year(s) ahead.