Sources: Jerod Mayo the favorite to succeed Belichick as Patriots HC

Sources: Jerod Mayo the favorite to succeed Belichick as Patriots HC originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The wheels of the Bill Belichick succession plan are being put into motion.

The New England Patriots have parted ways with Belichick as their head coach, team owner Robert Kraft and Belichick confirmed while addressing the legendary coach's departure Thursday from Gillette Stadium.

As for what comes next in New England? NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry reports that linebackers coach Jerod Mayo "remains the favorite" to be the Patriots' next head coach.

NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran also reported Thursday he expects Mayo succeed Belichick in New England.

"The indications I've gotten (are) that Jerod Mayo will be the successor to Bill (Belichick)," Curran said on NBC Sports Boston.

New England's first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft (No. 10 overall), Mayo spent his entire eight-year playing career with the Patriots, winning a Super Bowl and earning two Pro Bowl nods as a defensive leader at linebacker.

Mayo joined the New England's coaching staff in 2019 as an inside linebackers coach and evolved into a leader on the defensive coaching staff, sharing defensive play-calling duties with assistant Steve Belichick. The Patriots announced plans to extend Mayo's contract in January 2023, keeping him in Foxboro despite other teams being interested in him as a head coach. In March 2023, Kraft dubbed Mayo the "heir apparent" to Belichick.

The Patriots will undergo a formal search for their next head coach, and recently-fired Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel certainly is an intriguing candidate. But at this point, it sounds like Mayo is the leader in the clubhouse to fill the shoes of a coaching legend.