Bill Belichick, who led the New England Patriots to a record six Super Bowl titles, will leave the team after 24 seasons on Thursday, according to ESPN.
Speculation had been swirling for some time about Belichick’s future after the Patriots slumped to a 4-13 record in 2023, their worst season during his time with the team.
ESPN reports that conversations between Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft about the coach’s future took place this week and were cordial. They concluded with Belichick and the team making a mutual parting of ways.
The 71-year-old is one of the greatest head coaches in NFL history and, in terms of Super Bowl titles, the most successful. However, since Tom Brady left the team in 2020, the Patriots have had just won winning season, reached the playoffs once and struggled to find a replacement at quarterback.
Belichick has not indicated he intends to retire. He has been linked with the vacant head coaching positions at the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers.
Two former Patriots linebackers, Jerod Mayo and Mike Vrabel, are the leading candidates to replace Belichick. Mayo has worked on Belichick’s staff at the Patriots for some time while Vrabel left his role as Tennessee Titans head coach earlier this week.
News of Belichick’s reported departure comes a day after two of his head coaching contemporaries, Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and Nick Saban of the Alabama college football program, left their roles.