Jerod Mayo Brings Former Rival Coach for Surprise OTA Visit

As the New England Patriots' OTAs continue, Jerod Mayo surprising brought in one former rival coach for a visit on Thursday.
HC Jerod Mayo had a surprise guest at Thursday's OTAs.
HC Jerod Mayo had a surprise guest at Thursday's OTAs. / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots, just like the rest of the NFL, are in the middle of their second session of organized team activities (OTAs). It's a time when the media and Patriots coaches get a good look at the 90-man roster before training camps open in less than two months.

It isn't unusual for teams to bring former players or coaches into OTAs in a special guest role. After all, having an outsider's perspective can be helpful, whether that's in a role to motivate players or perhaps point things out to the coaching staff that they may have not noticed.

Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo invited a special guest to Thursday's OTAs who's someone that New England fans thought would never be associated with the franchise.

Patriots News: Tony Dungy at Thursday's OTAs

ESPN's Mike Reiss reports that legendary NFL head coach Tony Dungy was in attendance at Thursday's activities. The 68-year-old NBC analyst was the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts throughout the height of the Peyton Manning-Tom Brady rivalry.

According to Reiss, one of Mayo's main goals in his first year as head coach is to be "open to various perspectives." Bringing in one of the NFL's all-time great coaches is certainly one way of acting upon that goal.

The former Super Bowl-winning HC also has a strong relationship with ex-Pat and Mayo's current "right-hand man" Matthew Slater.

After taking on various defensive coaching roles for nearly two decades, Dungy finally became a head coach when he was hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996. He spent five years with the franchise before becoming the Indianapolis Colts HC in 2002.

Dungy's best moments came with the Colts, as he racked up an 85-27 record across seven seasons. Indianapolis finished with at least 12 wins in all but one season during that stretch and reached the top of the mountain with a 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears at Super Bowl XLI.

During his time with the Colts, Dungy went head-to-head against the Patriots nine times. Although he lost four consecutive games against New England to begin that run, he won four of the final five meetings, ending with a 4-5 record against the franchise.

But as intense as that early 2000s rivalry was, there clearly isn't any bad blood between Dungy and the Patriots. That's a good thing, though. He brings a wealth of football knowledge that can be passed on to New England's veterans and young players alike. If they take his words and experience seriously, they'll be better for it.

Time will tell if Dungy's presence (and any future appearances) make an impact on the upcoming campaign. The Patriots could use all the help they can get as they are currently projected for just 4.5 wins in 2024 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

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