Morning Sports Update

The Bill Belichick-Nick Saban relationship could be central in Patriots’ offensive coordinator search

Bill O'Brien still has another year left on his contract with Alabama.

Bill O'Brien
Bill O'Brien prior to the national championship earlier in 2022. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Celtics defeated the Magic on Sunday, 116-83. Jaylen Brown led Boston with 26 points.

Tomorrow, the Celtics face the Nets in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m. Also on Tuesday, the Bruins are back in action at TD Garden against the Penguins at 7 p.m.

In the Olympics, the U.S. women’s hockey team will face Canada tonight in a preliminary round matchup at 11:10 p.m. ET. Both teams enter the game at 3-0.

And over the weekend, Connecticut native Julia Marino won the first U.S. medal of the Beijing Games with a silver in women’s slopestyle skiing:

The Patriots’ offensive coordinator vacancy: With Josh McDaniels officially installed as the Raiders’ new head coach, the Patriots are in the market for a new offensive coordinator.

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The position carries especially great significance because it will be critical in the continued development of young quarterback Mac Jones.

Just as McDaniels once returned for a second stint with Bill Belichick and the Patriots, the most likely candidate to replace him could be another former New England offensive coordinator.

Bill O’Brien, who helped coach the Patriots’ offense to an AFC Championship in the 2011 season, has been linked with the job opening. O’Brien has spent the last year as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, and still has another year left on his contract.

The added dynamic in the mix is the close relationship that Belichick has with Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

NFL reporter Albert Breer identified the Belichick-Saban connection as potentially the key to whether O’Brien takes the job or stays where he is.

“I think whether Bill O’Brien winds up back in New England—succeeding McDaniels for a second time—will boil down to Bill Belichick, Nick Saban and whether Saban will sign off on O’Brien going back home after just a year at Alabama. And how hard Belichick pushes for that,” Breer noted in his weekly Sports Illustrated column.

Another candidate whose name has reportedly been mentioned is former Jets coach Adam Gase, though there remain other possibilities for the job as well.

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More from Boston.com:

Jaylen Brown’s thunderous dunk from Sunday’s win over the Magic:

Kamila Valieva’s historic quad at an Olympic Games: The 15-year-old propelled Russia to the gold medal in the figure skating team event.

On this day: In 2021, Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes—two of which went to Rob Gronkowski—as the Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 to win Super Bowl LV.

Daily highlight: Connor Bedard, a 16-year-old center for the Regina Pats, scored one of the goals of the season on Sunday.

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