Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With Josh McDaniels having backed out of the Indianapolis Colts’ head coach job at the last second, the wide-ranging assumption is that he is in line to become the next head coach of the New England Patriots when Bill Belichick moves on. That is, if he wants the job.

All indications are that Belichick will be back with the Patriots next season. Beyond that, no one knows. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, one of the factors that led to McDaniels changing his mind about the Indy job is that he met with Belichick, and the future Hall of Famer offered to essentially take McDaniels under his wing more going forward. Belichick essentially acts as coach and general manager in New England, and Reiss was told the 65-year-old is going to give McDaniels a closer look at the personnel and management side of things.

However, it is interesting to note that Reiss also reports that McDaniels has said privately in the past that he does not want succeed Belichick, worrying that the shoes would be far too big to fill.

McDaniels, who a source confirmed got a significant raise, has privately said in the past that he did not want to be the coach who succeeds Belichick. Although he since may have changed his mind, McDaniels knows Belichick, after five Super Bowl victories, will be a hard act to follow.

We keep hearing that McDaniels’ family situation was a huge factor in his decision to bail on the Colts, but there has to be more to it than that. Considering he had a handshake agreement in place in Indy, you’d have to think he and his wife did plenty of research on schools for their four children and were comfortable with the move.

While Robert Kraft may have had his own motivations for helping to convince McDaniels to stay, it sure seems like the succession plan is in place. Belichick’s shoes will be incredibly difficult to fill, but he could give McDaniels a head start by expanding his mentoring role with the 41-year-old over the next year or longer.

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This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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