Grantham withdraws from Saints search

ATHENS, Ga. -- After interviewing for the New Orleans Saints' open defensive coordinator position on Thursday, Georgia assistant coach Todd Grantham has withdrawn his name from consideration for the job.

"Georgia is a great place, my family loves it here, and I do as well," Grantham said in a statement released to the media on Friday evening. "This is where our heart is, and today I have withdrawn my name from consideration for the position with the Saints."

Multiple published reports this week stated that former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is Saints coach Sean Payton's first choice for the job. Ryan was to interview with the Saints on Friday.

"I want to thank Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints organization for the opportunity to interview and get to know them," said Grantham, whose name also was attached to the now-filled defensive coordinator opening with the Philadelphia Eagles. "They are a first-class organization in every respect."

Grantham was an 11-year NFL coaching veteran before accepting Georgia's defensive coordinator position before the 2010 season. He helped lead the 2011 Bulldogs to the program's first SEC East title since 2005 by fielding a defense that ranked fifth nationally in total defense. The veteran-laden defense slipped to 32nd in total defense and 18th in scoring defense last fall, but the Bulldogs still managed to defend their division title.

If Grantham remains at Georgia for the 2013 season, he'll do so with a defense that returns only four starters. But Georgia's staff already started to fill some of the holes by bringing in seven early enrollees to go along with the veterans and returning youngsters who haven't played much yet.

"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 said.