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McDaniels back on Patriots staff

By Shalise Manza-Young
Globe Staff / January 8, 2012
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As expected, Josh McDaniels is returning to his NFL roots and reuniting with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady as a member of the Patriots coaching staff.

McDaniels will replace the departing Bill O’Brien - who was introduced yesterday as Penn State’s new head coach - as offensive coordinator, though a league source said McDaniels may have an expanded role with the team.

According to the source, a deal has been finalized with McDaniels, who has been in New England since Friday night.

Though O’Brien will remain with the Patriots through the end of their season, ESPN reported yesterday that McDaniels will immediately begin working with the New England staff. However, the league source believes that will mostly entail watching film. This season, St. Louis played the Steelers and Ravens, potential postseason opponents for the Patriots.

Since McDaniels had been under contract with the Rams through next season, St. Louis could have asked for compensation, particularly because the Patriots weren’t the only team interested in McDaniels. But the Rams are in flux, from the coaching staff to the front office, and they decided to simply let him go.

The league source indicated that McDaniels’s title and responsibilities upon his return to New England - where he began as a personnel assistant in 2001 and worked his way up to offensive coordinator before accepting the head coaching position in Denver in 2009 - likely will be more than just coordinator. It is unclear what that means, though, and whether he could be head coach-in-waiting.

Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia currently holds the title of assistant head coach and has since Belichick came to New England in 2000.

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