Why Gronk isn't sold on Jerod Mayo as Bill Belichick's successor

Why Gronk isn't sold on Jerod Mayo as Bill Belichick's successor originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Sunday's regular-season finale against the New York Jets could be Bill Belichick's final game as New England Patriots head coach. If it is, team owner Robert Kraft will have a tough decision regarding who will replace the legend who helped bring six Super Bowl titles to Foxboro.

Linebackers coach Jerod Mayo is considered one of the top candidates for the job. A two-time Pro Bowler with New England, Mayo joined the Patriots' coaching staff in 2019 and earned a contract extension this past offseason. After negotiating his deal to stay in New England, he turned down head coach and defensive coordinator interviews with multiple teams.

Despite Mayo being a popular pick to take over for Belichick, one of his former teammates isn't sold on him as the successor. Former Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski explained on Kay Adams' Up & Adams Show why he can't envision Mayo as the next head coach.

"I've been hearing a lot of things that he could possibly be the successor. I still think he doesn't have enough experience though," Gronkowski told Adams. "I mean, he's not even a defensive coordinator yet."

"He's a great coach, great guy, but just experience isn't there yet. He has to go through the table of getting up to the head-coaching level and I feel like he needs to be a defensive coordinator first before he just jumps right to the head coach."

If not Mayo, then who?

When Adams suggested the possibility of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, Gronkowski's eyes lit up.

"Wow, that's a good one," Gronk responded. "That's the only other guy out there that would be a pretty good fit."

Harbaugh is sure to be a hot commodity after leading the Wolverines over Alabama and into the College Football Playoff National Championship. It's uncertain whether Harbaugh hopes to return to the NFL, but that won't stop the rumors from flying.

Despite recent reports to the contrary, Gronkowski still isn't convinced Belichick's time with the Patriots is coming to a close.

"He just has too much of a base, an origin, with the New England Patriots where I just feel like it would just be a little unsettling if he goes to another team," he said. "Because he is showing the fight. It's not like he's giving up. He's showing that fight every single week.

"If he threw the bag in and was going, 'Hey guys, it's whatever, we've got the Jets this week...' and they're not fighting, and they're just getting blown out and he's showing he doesn't care, then yes, I think he would be 100 percent gone. But the thing is, he's showing such a fight still that that's why I feel like he will possibly be there next year still."

Belichick and Kraft reportedly will meet to discuss their plans once the regular season concludes next week. For now, Belichick is focused on finishing the campaign with a victory over his most hated rival, the New York Jets.