While the Patriots were enjoying the first weekend of the new calendar year off, their offensive coordinator was interviewing for head coaching vacancies with Atlanta and San Francisco.
Those meetings reportedly happened here in New England on Friday and Saturday, respectively, during the Patriots' Wild Card Weekend bye, so that he could return quickly to his current job responsibilities. McDaniels, in a conference call with media on Monday, confirmed that he took part in "initial" discussions with the aforementioned clubs.
Check out photos from access to players and coaches during the bye week as the Patriots prepare for the playoffs.
"They were fine. It's part of the process… it hasn't really gone any farther in either direction," he maintained.
The 38-year-old, who was briefly the head coach in Denver from 2009-10, added that he is "always, obviously, privileged" that any organization would want to speak with him about such opportunities, but that, for the time being, at least, he must turn his attention back to New England. The Patriots learned late Saturday night that they'll be hosting the Baltimore Ravens in this coming Saturday's AFC Divisional Playoff.
"At this point, I've moved on," he continued, "and hopefully can help us put together a great plan for our guys heading into this week. I'm focusing on the next task at hand for us, which is the Ravens. I'm sure [the clubs searching for head coaches] will do what they need to do on their end. I'm sure those things will take care of themselves in the future."
That last sentence would suggest that McDaniels hasn't entirely ruled out revisiting the Falcons, Niners, or any other job prospects that present themselves in the near future. In fact, ESPN reported a few days earlier that New England's AFC East rivals, the Buffalo Bills, who are also in search of a head coach, asked for permission to speak with McDaniels, among other candidates. It's unclear, however, if McDaniels met with Bills representatives over the weekend or is planning to do so.
Regardless, there appears to be strong interest in McDaniels, as there was following the 2008 season, and if history is a guide, these playoffs could be McDaniels' last as OC of the Patriots.
In a radio appearance on Boston airwaves Monday morning, Patriots QB Tom Brady said he was "not sure" if his long-time coach and friend would leave the team for a second time.
"He's a phenomenal coach, so I can see why a lot of teams are approaching him year after year," Brady remarked. "He's so smart, he's so in tune. He's got everything it takes [to be a head coach]. I love having him here, so I'd hate to see him go."
Meanwhile, McDaniels and the Patriots are scheduled to be back on the practice field Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, then conduct a walkthrough session on Friday, in advance of their Saturday evening game against Baltimore. Kickoff is at 4:35 EST.