Mike Gesicki's connection with Patriots OC Bill O'Brien, explained

New Patriots TE Mike Gesicki and OC Bill O'Brien go way back originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Mike Gesicki won't need a formal introduction to New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien when he arrives in Foxboro.

Gesicki, who reportedly is signing a one-year deal with the Patriots worth up to $ 9 million, actually met O'Brien as a high schooler in 2013 when O'Brien was the head coach at Penn State. O'Brien was trying to recruit the talented tight end from New Jersey, and according to StateCollege.com's Mike Poorman, the two "hit it off" during their first meeting.

In the fall of 2013, Gesicki committed to Penn State, where he'd play from 2014 to 2017.

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The athletic tight end never actually played for O'Brien, who left to become the Houston Texans' head coach in January 2014. But the two reunited in January 2018 at the Senior Bowl, where Gesicki spoke glowingly of O'Brien.

"It was cool meeting with Coach O’Brien," Gesicki told Poorman at the time. "Obviously, I had the opportunity to get to know him during the recruiting process, and committed to him, and had those meetings back when I was in high school.

"The meeting this week was a little different. He’s still the same guy, nothing has changed with that. I already had that previous relationship."

According to Gesicki, he and O'Brien also talked shop at the Senior Bowl, discussing how the 6-foot-6, 247-pound tight end might be utilized at the NFL level.

"Coach O’Brien already knows me," Gesicki told Poorman. "He knew me in high school and had met my parents (Michael and Donna, who traveled to Mobile for the game). We talked X’s and O’s. We talked about my film, and the potential that I have and where they see I would play, and at what position."

Now, O'Brien has the opportunity to work with Gesicki directly in New England. The five-year veteran is two seasons removed from a 73-catch, 780-yard campaign with Miami in 2021 and is an excellent red zone target, leading all players in positive EPA (expected points added) percentage inside the 20 last season, per our Phil Perry.

O'Brien found historic success with the tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez while running the Patriots' offense in 2011, and while Hunter Henry and Gesicki are no Gronk and Hernandez, they're both dynamic pass-catchers who should give O'Brien plenty to work with in revamping the offense for quarterback Mac Jones.

Gesicki's history with the Patriots' new offensive coordinator should help him get up to speed quickly in New England.