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Saints choose Rob Ryan; Grantham will remain at Georgia

Todd Grantham will remain at Georgia. (Photo: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports)

Todd Grantham will remain at Georgia. (Photo: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports)

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n Wednesday, we reported that Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was likely headed to the NFL.

Grantham was in consideration for both of the NFL coordinator jobs open at the time, but both of those jobs went to other candidates and Grantham announced that he will return to Athens.

Chip Kelly filled the Philadelphia opening by hiring Browns’ linebackers coach Billy Davis on Wednesday. Grantham interviewed with the Saints on Thursday, but Sean Payton hired former Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, long speculated to be the leading candidate.

Following the interview, Grantham learned that Ryan was going to be the Saints’ choice, and then announced that he would return to Georgia.

“As I said Wednesday, Georgia is a great place, my family loves it here, and I do as well,” Grantham told the Athens Banner-Herald. “This is where our heart is and today I have withdrawn from consideration for the position with the Saints. I’m excited to start preparations for another season and along with the rest of our defensive staff look forward to coaching some really good returning players as well as developing some very talented newcomers.”

Grantham coached in the NFL for 11 seasons with the Colts, Cowboys, Texans and Browns before coming to Georgia. Grantham is very well regarded in NFL circles and sources indicate that he would like to coach again at the professional level.

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Source: Todd Grantham likely to leave Georgia

A source says that Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has likely coached his last game at Georgia. (Photo: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports)

A source says that Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has likely coached his last game at Georgia. (Photo: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports)

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t would appear that Todd Grantham has coached his last game at Georgia.

Sources close to the situation tell us that Grantham is looking to make a change, and that he is “highly likely” to be coaching in the NFL next season.

It’s been widely reported that Grantham will interview with New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton on Thursday, but the source indicated that Grantham is more likely to join Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles staff as defensive coordinator.

Speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday, Grantham dodged questions about his interest either NFL job.

“You know what? I can tell you this, that my family loves it here; I like it here a lot; and this is a very special place and I think today needs to be focused on the players we’ve got here right now and trying to get back to Atlanta,” Grantham said.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt sidestepped the possibility as well.

“I know that we’ve got great coaches on our staff and every single off-season somebody’s calling me about somebody,” Richt said. “That’s just the way it works and I think it’s a good sign. That’s just the way it works. I think we have some pretty good coaches and ones people think a lot of.”

The source indicated that Richt is aware of Grantham’s desire to leave, and has a plan in place to move quickly on a replacement. No potential candidates were mentioned, however.

On Wednesday, Payton appeared on ESPN radio’s “Mike and Mike Show” and said he planned to speak to “two to four” candidates in the coming days. Payton did not mention Grantham by name, but did say that he planned to meet with former Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

[colored_box color=”grey”]Talk about it in The Inside Scoop.[/colored_box]

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The Coaching Wire: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013

Ron Aiken will be Oregon's defensive line coach. (Photo: Peter Vander Stoep/Arizona Cardinals)

Ron Aiken will be Oregon’s defensive line coach. (Photo: Peter Vander Stoep/Arizona Cardinals)

Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield has announced that Dwayne Ledford, who is in his second year as App State University’s offensive line coach, and Frank Ponce, a longtime assistant at Florida International University, will serve as the Moutaineers’ co-offensive coordinators. … Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has hired former Arizona Cardinals defensive line coach Ron Aiken to coach the same position for the Ducks. Aiken replaces Jerry Azzinaro, who left Oregon to join former Ducks coach Chip Kelly with the Philadelphia Eagles. Aiken spent the past six seasons with the Cardinals. He coached the defensive line at Iowa for eight season (1999-2006) and spent one year as  linebackers coach at San Diego State in 1998. Aiken also had stints as a defensive assistant at Texas (1997), Vanderbilt (1995-96), and New Mexico (1991-94). … Also at Oregon, Helfrich has officially announced Scott Frost offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. This has been speculated since Helfrich was hired, but Helfrich waited until after Duke’s Matt Lubick was hired as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator (which happened on Monday) to make the announcement. Frost, the former Nebraska quarterback, has served as the Ducks wide receivers coach since 2009. Frost broke into coaching as a graduate assistant at Nebraska in 2002 before filling the same role at Kansas State in 2006. He then spent two years  Northern Iowa in 2007 before joining the Oregon staff.

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Eagles hire Chip Kelly

Just 10 days after telling Oregon officials that he would remain with the Ducks, Chip Kelly has been hired as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” Eagles’ Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh, energetic approach to our team.”

This story has had several twists and turns over the past few weeks.

In addition to Philadelphia, Kelly interviewed with the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills. He was once thought to be close to inking a deal with the Browns head coach, but that never materialized. Following a nine-hour interview with the Eagles brass, Kelly was then thought to be leaning there, but later told Oregon athletic director  Rob Mullens that he decided to remain with Oregon.

Kelly replaces Andy Reid, who was fired following a 4-12 season. He was set to make approximately $4 million at Oregon next season.

In four seasons at Oregon, the 49-year old Kelly compiled a 46-7 record. The Ducks were 12-1 this past season after winning the Fiesta Bowl, its fourth BCS game in as many years.

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