Former Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema is now an assistant on the Patriots’ staff, his first job in the NFL after a quarter century coaching in college. He doesn’t think he’ll go back.
Bielema says he’s so thoroughly enjoying the all-football focus of working for Bill Belichick that he isn’t eager to return to a college campus.
“The thing I love about football in the NFL is you go to work at 6 a.m. and you leave at 9 [p.m.] and it’s nothing but football,” Bielema told CBS Sports. “It’s just purely football.”
Bielema was head coach at Arkansas for five years and at Wisconsin for seven years. Prior to that he was defensive coordinator at Wisconsin, co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State and linebackers coach at Iowa. The NFL, he has learned, is something else.
“It’s a whole different way to coach [in the NFL],” Bielema said. “I understand once they go to that level, coaches don’t ever go back. One of the most ‘a-ha’ moments was one of the first drills I did during OTAs. I had 11 [defensive] guys go through the drills. ‘Holy cow, these guys are good.’ These are the elite of your elite.”
The Patriots still haven’t announced what Bielema’s title will be, but whatever his job is, he sounds like he wants to keep it for a long time.