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Bill O’Brien has his interview with Patriots for offensive coordinator job

Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien worked on Bill Belichick's staff in New England for five seasons (2007-11).Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

The Patriots interviewed Bill O’Brien Thursday for their offensive coordinator opening, a league source confirmed, as their list of candidates for the role has grown to five.

In addition to O’Brien, the Patriots have already spoken to — or have plans to speak to — their own tight ends coach Nick Caley, Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, Cardinals wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, and Adrian Klemm, who is Oregon’s associate head coach, offensive line coach, and run game coordinator.

O’Brien, considered a favorite among the bunch, is currently Alabama’s offensive coordinator. His contract expires Feb. 28.

All of these candidates have previous ties to Bill Belichick or the Patriots.


O’Brien worked for Belichick for five seasons in New England. Caley, who joined Belichick’s staff in 2015, is the lone internal option. McCardell played four seasons for the Browns back when Belichick was head coach in Cleveland. Jefferson played for the Patriots for four seasons, including one when Belichick was on staff as assistant head coach. Belichick drafted Klemm, an offensive lineman, in the second round in 2000.

The Patriots could continue to grow their pool, but there is motivation to move the hiring process along quickly. A total of 10 teams are in the market for an offensive coordinator. Caley has interviewed with the Jets for their opening.

Also, the Patriots coaching staff will be on the road next week, as they will lead the West squad at the East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas. Practices begin Saturday, with the game scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 2.

Headed to Germany

The Patriots will play a game in Germany next season, the NFL announced Thursday.

One of the team’s nine home games will be played in Frankfurt or Munich instead of Foxborough. The date, location, and opponent will be announced in May, closer to when the league’s entire regular-season schedule is revealed.


New England’s possible opponents for the game are Indianapolis, Washington, Miami, Philadelphia, New Orleans, the Jets, and the Chargers.

The Patriots also have home games against Buffalo and Kansas City, but both of those teams also were chosen for an international game and thus cannot be an opponent.

“We are thrilled to be selected to play in Germany this year,” said Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “We are undefeated in our three previous international games, thanks in part to the outstanding support from our fans.

“We know that some of our most passionate fans reside in Germany, and we look forward to finally playing a game there. We know the fans will create an amazing atmosphere. We are sure it will be a memorable experience and one of the highlights of the 2023 season.”

The Patriots’ last international game was at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City in 2017. They also played at Wembley Stadium in London in 2009 and 2012.

An Eagle sighting

Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers is among the college prospects the Patriots will see up close at the East-West Shrine Bowl. According to the offensive rosters released Thursday, Flowers is one of eight receivers on the West team. The others are Liberty’s Demario Douglas, Jackson State’s Dallas Daniels, UCLA’s Jake Bobo, Hampton’s Jadakis Bonds, Florida’s Justin Shorter, West Virginia’s Bryce Ford-Wheaton, and Michael Jefferson of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.

Nicole Yang can be reached at nicole.yang@globe.com.Follow her on Twitter @nicolecyang.