FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — So much for a quiet bye week.

New England Patriots players, anticipating a restful weekend watching potential playoff opponents, were hit by a key question Friday. Would offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien’s imminent hiring as head coach at Penn State be a distraction even though he’s expected to stay with the team throughout the postseason?

No, wide receiver Julian Edelman said.

“We’re still getting ready for the playoffs so we didn’t change anything,” he said. “We’re going to get back to work here soon and enjoy a couple of days off and rest.”

Backup offensive lineman Nick McDonald agreed. It was business as usual in Foxborough on Friday, he said.

“It’s just another work day,” he said. “Come to work and do our jobs.”

O’Brien wasn’t at practice on Thursday. Instead, he went to Penn State for an interview. Asked if O’Brien was in Foxborough on Friday, Edelman said that was a question for coach Bill Belichick, who did not speak with reporters.

Two people in the NFL with knowledge of the coaching search told The Associated Press on Friday morning that O’Brien has told them he plans to replace fired coach Joe Paterno. The persons spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the search.

ESPN, citing unnamed sources, first reported Thursday night an official announcement would be made today.


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