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DeAndre Hopkins latest visit links him with former coach

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DeAndre Hopkins is on the move again, this time up north to visit a former colleague: Current Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

A familiar face keeps cropping up in the DeAndre Hopkins offseason sweepstakes: the New England Patriots.

Hopkins has been rumored to join a wide breadth of teams since being released from the Cardinals, with most recent speculation directed toward him signing with the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans.

The Browns and Titans serve as reasonable choices in theory (they both need wideout help), but one could argue they don’t really tick off Hopkins’ boxes. Right before his release, the veteran wideout declared on a podcast that he wanted his next team to have a great quarterback and great management. He stated his desire to play with the likes of Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Patrick Mahomes — Deshaun Watson and Ryan Tannehill/ Malik Willis don’t really measure up to those standards.

Neither does Mac Jones, but the Patriots may actually have the strongest link in the Hopkins recruiting war right now.

Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

NFL’s Ian Rapoport reported that Hopkins will visit the Patriots next week in a move that was all too easy to predict given Hopkins’ former relationship with O’Brien.

DeAndre Hopkins scheduled to visit New England Patriots next week

But wait — Hopkins’ connection to O’Brien may not be as strong as people think.

According to Pro Football Talk, there were reports of “acrimonious interactions” between the two prior to Hopkins’ departure.

O’Brien was Hopkins’ head coach at the Houston Texans for six years; in that span, Hopkins earned four Pro Bowls and three All-Pros, and he also racked up five 1,000-plus receiving yard seasons.

There’s no question Hopkins’ career thrived in O’Brien’s offense during all those years in Houston. Rather, the question everyone wants to know the answer to is whether Hopkins and O’Brien still have bad blood. Hopkins claimed he had “no relationship” with O’Brien after being traded to Arizona in 2020, and as active as he has been on various podcasts this offseason, he hasn’t mentioned the Patriots OC’s name once.

Hopkins may be going to New England to get some closure with his former head coach, or he may alternatively be opening a new chapter of his life. More details to come next week.



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