Jerod Mayo: How He Became the First Black Head Coach in the New England Patriots History

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Jerod Mayo is the New England Patriots’ first black head coach in the franchise’s history and the youngest in the league. Mayo becomes only the fourth black coach in a league whose top positions are dominated by whites. 

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He has a long history with the team as a player and position coach. Mayo was a linebacker during his career and was considered one of the best at the time. Let’s look at his career.

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Jerod Mayo’s Early Career

Jerod Mayo is a Virginia native. While playing for the Kecoughtan High School, he was one of the standout players and was recognized through multiple letters. During his senior year, Mayo registered 110 tackles, 1245 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. 

His performance as a junior earned him earned first-team All-Area, All-District, and All-Region honors. He gained attention from different universities but chose to attend Tennessee.

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College Career

Spotcovery-Jerod Mayo: How He Became the First Black Head Coach in the New England Patriots History
Jerod Mayo (Left) in an NFL Game. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-2.0

The linebacker was part of the Tennessee Volunteers football team from 2004 to 2007. He delayed his entry to prolong his eligibility. Mayo ranked highly in the tackles, yards and sacks. 

He even made the most tackles a Tennessee defender has since 1990. He was named to the Southeastern Conference selection and made the NFL Draft Report All-American team.

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NFL Career

Jerod Mayo was a first-round 10th pick in the NFL Draft of 2008. He penned a five-year contract worth $18.9 million. He proved his worth from the very first game he played as it didn’t take long for him to show how good he was.

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By the end of the season, he won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. In the subsequent seasons, he suffered some injuries but managed to return strongly, racking up the numbers against his competitors. 

However, in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 campaigns, the injuries he suffered decreased his playing time and eventually lost his place in the team. After long periods on the injury bench, Mayo announced his retirement on Instagram. 

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Coaching Career

Analysis of Jerod Mayo’s appointment. Video Credit: ESPN

After his playing career, he transitioned to coaching and worked as a linebacker coach in the team until he was appointed the head coach of the New England Patriots. This is a historic feat as he’s the first black man to coach the team in its history. 

The owner of The New England Patriots Robert Kraft explained to Baller Alert that he settled on Mayo because he wants to win. For that to happen, he gave the job to the best person available and that happened to be Jerod Mayo

On his part, Mayo addressed the importance of having coaches of color stating that acknowledging their presence is the first step to addressing racism.

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Will Mayo Try to Become Bill Belichick?

Many have wondered whether he’ll try to be the next Bill Belichick. He reaffirmed that while he respects and appreciates working under him, he wouldn’t try to be him. Instead, he curves his path.

“I’m not trying to be Bill. He’s his own man and I’m a different person. The one lesson I take from him is that hard work works. The other is being selective with the people who have access to you..” he said.

Jerod Mayo is carrying the hopes of many football fans, especially those who aspire to get to such positions. He’s worked with one of the best coaches in the game and it’s time for him to show his skills and build his team.

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