There was always a chance Josh McDaniels would leave the St. Louis Rams after only one or two seasons as offensive coordinator. The team did not anticipate it would happen under the current circumstances.
McDaniels, an obvious person of interest as the New England Patriots seek an offensive coordinator, was not expected back when the Rams fired coach Steve Spagnuolo.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King says the Rams, currently in the process of chasing Jeff Fisher and interviewing other head coaching candidates, will not stop McDaniels from returning to New England.
The Rams initially feared McDaniels might resurface as a head coaching candidate after one or two successful seasons in St. Louis. Instead, the Rams imploded in all areas, including on offense. Team owner Stan Kroenke fired the coach and general manager. All assistant coaches but McDaniels had contracts expiring in February.
There was an outside chance the team's next head coach would want to keep McDaniels. The likelihood was not strong enough for the team to prevent McDaniels from pursuing other viable options, even though the NFL's anti-tampering policy allows teams to deny interview requests except when assistants are considering head coaching jobs. The policy requires teams to let assistants interview only for head coaching jobs during the offseason through March 1.
The Rams have no compelling reason to restrict McDaniels' pursuit of an opportunity in New England. They would not be finished with him if McDaniels did leave for the Patriots, however. New England is scheduled to visit the Edward Jones Dome in 2012.