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Minneapolis — The Detroit Lions’ wait is over.

The team is officially free to hire the franchise’s next head coach. The Lions are expected to formally announce and introduce New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia this week, following the conclusion of Super Bowl LII on Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium.

But as he did all week leading up to the game, Patricia was reluctant to talk about his future immediately following the Patriots’ 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

“It’s obviously bittersweet right now, for the season,” Patricia said. “That’s just my focus for tonight, and the guys. Teams change every year, and players, and my first accord is to go in and tell those guys in the room how much I appreciate them. They worked really hard this year, obviously came up a little bit short.

“I’m kind of focused on the moment right now and will think about everything else later.”

More: Brains, relentless work ethic made Matt Patricia rising star

More: Green: Patricia is next savant in line to fix Lions

Patricia, 43, comes to the Lions after 14 years in New England, the last seven running the team’s defense. He replaces Jim Caldwell, who was fired after four seasons with the franchise.

A collegiate offensive lineman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and aeronautical engineering grad, Patricia began his coaching career as a defensive line assistant at Amherst in 1999. After two seasons, he moved on to a third-year stint as a low-level offensive assistant at Syracuse, before getting his foot in the door with the Patriots in 2004.

Patricia held a variety of roles in New England, working with the team’s offensive line, linebackers and safeties before his promotion to coordinator in 2011.

He will come to Detroit with three Super Bowl rings. He fell short of earning a fourth on Sunday.

“We certainly did everything we could to get them stopped, and did everything we could to adjust, just didn’t do a good job of executing the way we wanted to,” Patricia said. “I just feel really bad for our guys. I really wanted to put them in position to be successful and obviously that didn’t happen.”

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/justin_rogers

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