Bill O’Brien addresses potential NFL coaching future
Bill O’Brien flirted with some NFL teams this offseason before remaining at Alabama, and the former head coach says that was his own choice.
O’Brien was mentioned as a head coaching candidate for the Jacksonville Jaguars at one point after Urban Meyer was fired. There were also some rumblings that he could get his old job back as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots. O’Brien was asked on Sunday about those opportunities. He said he wanted to honor his commitment to Nick Saban.
“I made a commitment to Coach Saban,” O’Brien said, via Mike Rodak of AL.com. “Those things come up relative to what your role is in different programs, where you’ve been. I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve had various roles in coaching, so obviously, those things come up.
“But I made a commitment to Coach Saban. I love coaching here. The players, the coaching staff, it’s been — like I said in the opening statement here — it’s been a really good experience. I’ve learned a lot. I’m very appreciative of Coach for giving me this opportunity.”
It seems unlikely that O’Brien would have turned down the Jaguars job to remain an assistant at the collegiate level. Jacksonville eventually hired Doug Pederson. O’Brien probably never had a real shot at the position.
The idea of O’Brien returning to the Patriots seems more realistic, especially when you consider that Bill Belichick hired back both Joe Judge and Matt Patricia. However, Belichick has a close relationship with Saban. Some believe he would not hire an assistant away from the Alabama coach.
O’Brien was fired as head coach and general manager of the Houston Texans midway through the 2020 season. His tenure with the team came to an ugly end, which could hurt his prospects of landing another NFL head coaching job.