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Patriots Interviewing Former Team Captain For Offensive Coaching Staff

By Mike D'Abate,


As the Patriots coaching staff prepares for this week’s East-West Shrine Bowl, team executives are expected to interview two ex-Pats offensive linemen for their open o-line position.

FOXBORO — As the New England Patriots continue to reconstruct their coaching staff for the upcoming season, several familiar faces find themselves on the team’s short list of candidates.

With the hiring of new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien (who signed on for his second tour of duty with the Patriots earlier this week), the Pats have turned their attention to filling their vacant offensive line position.

The latest candidate on the team’s radar is current Buffalo Bills’ assistant coach, and former Patriots offensive lineman, Ryan Wendell .

Per a Friday afternoon report by Sports Illustrated, the 36-year-old will fly to Las Vegas to meet with Patriots personnel at the East-West Shrine Bowl — for which New England’s coaching staff has been tasked with coaching the West team during the game taking place on Thursday at Allegiant Stadium.

Wendell began his career on the sidelines in 2019 as a coaching assistant with the Bills. for the past three seasons (2020-22) he has served as Buffalo’s assistant offensive line coach.

However, his playing career was largely forged in Foxboro.

Wendell joined the Pats as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State in 2008. He spent the first eight seasons of his nine-year career in New England, before finishing his NFL playing tenure after just one season as a member of the Carolina Panthers in 2016.

As a Patriot, Wendell appeared in a combined 91 regular season and playoff games, including 56 starts at either center or right guard. He was a key contributor to New England’s win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX; a game in which the Pats’ offensive line largely neutralized a fearsome Seattle defense. Wendell played every snap at right guard in what turned out to be his final start as a member of the team.

Prior to the 2015 season, Wendell was voted a captain by his teammates for the first time in his career. Though he missed the first five games of the 2015 season with an illness, he briefly returned in a reserve capacity for two games. Wendell was eventually placed on injured reserve in early November, ending his time with the Patriots.

Wendell becomes the second ex-Pats offensive lineman to be interviewed for the position. Last week, University of Oregon assistant Adrian Klemm (who played five years with the Patriots from 2000-2004) interviewed for the coordinator position which eventually went to O’Brien. However, the Patriots were particularly impressed with the prowess Klemm showed in coordinating Oregon’s run blocking schemes during his time on the Ducks staff — apparently to the point of interviewing him for a second time for their offensive line coaching position.

Whether it be Klemm, Wendell or another candidate who secures the job, the new coach will clearly face the daunting task of rebuilding an offensive line which struggled mightily under departing coach Matt Patricia — who is expected to  remain with the team in another capacity.

Follow Mike D’Abate on Twitter @ mdabateNFL and Listen/Subscribe to his daily podcast: Locked On Patriots

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