Could Bret Bielema leave Patriots to go back to college?

Ryan Hannable
December 11, 2019 - 9:53 am

Now is the time of year for a number of college head coaching jobs to become available and coaches change places.

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Could Patriots defensive line coach Bret Bielema be one of them?

Bielema was the Wisconsin head coach from 2006-12 and then the head coach at Arkansas from 2013-17. After being fired, he worked under Bill Belichick last year in an unofficial role and then became the defensive line coach this year. 

Speaking on a conference call Tuesday, Bielema was asked what his feelings are at this point on the football calendar.

"I’ve been in college football for 25 years," he said. "I had been exposed to the NFL just through players being drafted and evaluated. That’s when my first relationship started with Coach Belichick. Going back to Kirk Ferentz at the University of Iowa, I’ve been a big fan of how he did things. He drafted a lot of our players when I was at Wisconsin and Arkansas. I always kind of knew that he had an affection for our guys, but then when I got in the building here and was able to work with him and under him, just to learn the qualities that he brings, the things that he believes in were taught to me early on through Kirk. Kirk and him have a long relationship, and I’ve heard some of these same things before, and then to come in the building here it’s been absolutely awesome. I’ve enjoyed my time here, love it. I’ve got an absolutely awesome room to work with – Danny [Shelton], LG [Lawrence Guy], AB [Adam Butler], Deatrich [Wise], during the course of the year to work with Michael [Bennett].

"Just really enjoying my time, but those college opportunities have come along, I’ve gathered some interest. The thing that I realize every day is I love this profession. I think early on, I was at a Chinese restaurant, I got a fortune cookie that said, “Confucius says, ‘Do the job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,’” and that’s exactly how I feel. I’ve been in this business for over 25 years now and was a head coach at the age of 32, so I was really young when I got it. Whenever that opportunity comes again, it will be great, but I’m just enjoying the moment, going to work every day and learning from one of the best that’s ever coached this game. It’s truly a blessing."

Bielema didn't really give any indication on his future plans, but given his college experience it wouldn't be a surprise to see him be a head coach once again.

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