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Patriots officially announce McDaniels' hiring as assistant

It's official: Josh McDaniels will return to the New England Patriots this week and serve under Bill O'Brien, the offensive coordinator who was named Penn State's coach Saturday.

The Patriotsmade the announcement Sunday night and would only say that McDaniels is joining the team as an offensive assistant for the remainder of the season. However, a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora on Saturday that McDaniels will become New England's offensive coordinator once O'Brien leaves after the season.

McDaniels will see some familiar faces Saturday in his first game back. The Patriots will play the Denver Broncos, who McDaniels coached in 2009 and 2010 to an 11-17 record.

McDaniels spent 2010 first-round draft picks on wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (22nd overall) and quarterback Tim Tebow (25th overall), whose 80-yard touchdown connection in overtime Sunday night gave the Broncosa 29-23 wild-card victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

McDaniels, 35, worked for the Patriots from 2001 to 2008, including three seasons as their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He left to become the Broncos' coach, then was fired midway through the 2010 season. He took the St. Louis Rams' offensive coordinator job this season.

McDaniels was the only Rams assistant under contract through next season after former coach Steve Spagnuolo was fired last week. Now McDaniels will go from near the bottom of the NFL with the Rams (2-14) to a shot at the Super Bowl with the Patriots (13-3).

The Rams' struggles contrast sharply with the Patriots' offense under McDaniels, especially in 2007, when they went 16-0, then won two playoff games before losing Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants, 17-14.

In that season, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady set a single-season NFL record with 50 touchdown passes for an offense that averaged a league-best 411.2 yards. It also ranked first in passing yards (295.7) and points per game (36.8).

Now, McDaniels will be reunited with Brady and another prolific offense. The Patriots were second in the league in overall yards with 428 per game and passing yards with 317.8 per game. Their average of 32.1 points ranked third.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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