Wednesday night's story:
ATHENS - According to several reports out of Philadelphia, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is a candidate for the same job with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
Grantham did not receive a text message seeking comment on Wednesday.
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The Eagles pulled a stunner on Wednesday by hiring Chip Kelly away from Oregon. Kelly, who will be introduced on Thursday in Philadelphia, is considering switching the Eagles to a 3-4 defensive alignment – the same system that Grantham runs for Georgia.
Grantham is no stranger to the NFL. He came to Georgia in 2010 after 11 seasons at the NFL, including three seasons as the defensive coordinator for Cleveland.
The thinking around the program, according to a source, is that Grantham would likely take the Eagles job if he were offered: After all, it's seen as a promotion in the coaching business, and the Eagles would likely be able to offer more than the $825,000 that he's being paid at Georgia. (Grantham's current contract runs through the end of the 2014 season.)
Grantham also received a total of $125,000 in bonuses this season: His contract calls for a $75,000 bonus for appearing in the Capital One Bow, and $50,000 for winning the SEC East.
There would be no money owed by Grantham to UGA if he left for a head coaching job in the NFL or college, or a defensive coordinator job in the NFL.
Grantham has said that his goal is to be a head coach. His stock was fairly high after the 2011 season, when Georgia finished fifth nationally in total defense. This year the Bulldogs took a dip, ranking in the middle of the pack in the SEC, despite a load of NFL talent.
Thursday morning update:
Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said Thursday morning that he had not been notified by anybody about a desire to speak to Grantham, and that no potential amendment to Grantham's contract (i.e. a raise) had been broached.
Grantham's contract explicitly states that he "shall notify the Athletic Director of any offers of employment, employment opportunities or requests for meetings or discussions with respect to possible employment opportunities before engaging in substantive discussions regarding such employment or employment opportunities."
So we're still at the point we were on Wednesday. I do think that reports that Grantham was the main target by Kelly and the Eagles is inaccurate. He was (or still is) on their radar, but there are other candidates as well.
One thing to remember about this: Georgia and the Eagles are on two different timetables when it comes to needing a decision.
Philadelphia is introducing Kelly at a news conference at 1:45 p.m. today. Ideally, according to a few colleagues I've spoken to in Philadelphia, the team would like to have a defensive coordinator in place by Monday, because that's the start of Senior Bowl week practice.
But Georgia is in the heat of recruiting right now: Grantham is reportedly due to be visiting with recruits David Bellamy and Montravius Adams on Thursday.
Jimmy Hughes, the head coach at Dooly County High School, said Thursday morning he was expecting Grantham to come visit that afternoon about Adams. But Hughes said he hadn't spoken to Grantham in a couple days.
Now, if Grantham does visit with those players, that doesn't automatically mean he's staying. As I've said, I have a hard time seeing Grantham turning down a defensive coordinator job in the NFL, unless the team isn't able to offer him a raise. And if a team wants to hire Grantham, it's going to be able to offer more.
Thursday afternoon (2:10 p.m.) update:
Kelly just finished his introductory press conference in Philadelphia. He never mentioned any candidates for defensive coordinator, but said he was "right in the middle" of putting together his staff, and began making calls on Wednesday night.
Interestingly, Kelly also said he wasn't committed to a 3-4 or 4-3 system yet, and it would depend on the personnel and who was hired as defensive coordinator.
Meanwhile, just before the press conference began, an SEC East team lost its defensive coordinator: But not Georgia. The Seattle Seahawks announced they had hired Dan Quinn away from Florida. Quinn, who was with the Seahawks before joining Will Muschamp's staff, had also been mentioned as a candidate for the Eagles' coordinator job.
So that's at least one less person to compete with Grantham for the job. But what about Grantham? All I can pass along is this:
- He's out recruiting this afternoon, and per various reports had a visit with Atlanta prospect Davin Bellamy. Grantham is also due to visit Montravius Adams this afternoon.
- UGA is not at this moment preparing any announcement that Grantham is returning. That doesn't mean Grantham isn't coming back ... it just means no announcement is immediately forthcoming.
Thursday night (8:30 p.m.) update:
Well, there still isn't anything too substantive to report.
McGarity reiterated this evening that there was "no news," in that he hasn't been contacted by Grantham or Mark Richt.
The Eagles don't at the moment appear in a rush to make a hire, according to a couple colleagues I've spoken to up in the great state of Pennsylvania.
And Grantham spent the day recruiting for Georgia, and in fact may still be with Dooly County star Montravious Adams.
The only new wrinkle, if it is one, is that the Eagles are reportedly also interested in ... drum roll ... Kirby Smart, the Alabama defensive coordinator. This was reported by Howard Eskin, a television reporter in Philly who is regarded as fairly well-connected to the around the Eagles. But Eskin also tweeted that Grantham had interviewed, and to be honest my reporting doesn't indicate the process is that far along.
Clearly, with reported interest in coordinators at Alabama, Georgia and Florida, the Eagles are determined to win the SEC next season.
Friday evening (6:00) update:
All had been quiet for most of today, but a couple morsels cropped up late:
- Ray Horton, mentioned in Philadelphia media as a potential candidate for the defensive coordinator job, instead accepted the job with the Cleveland Browns.
- A report in Philadelphia says "the belief from the University of Georgia side" is that Kelly and Grantham have "already spoken." The report added that a decision could happen as early as Friday.
So I checked again with McGarity, who reiterated that he has not been notified by Grantham about any conversations.
Meanwhile, our friends at Dawgs247.com reported that Grantham was at work once again on Friday for Georgia - in Athens.
So that's where we are right now. As we say often, stay tuned.
Saturday afternoon (12:10 p.m.) update:
Philadelphia is interviewing someone else today for the job: New York Giants linebackers coach Jim Herrmann, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. (And Schefter is about as plugged-in and reliable as there is out there.)
Herrmann is a former defensive coordinator at Michigan who won the Frank Broyles award for the nation's top assistant coach in 1997.
The fact the Eagles are interviewing someone else certainly points to Grantham not being the imminent choice. Then again, until we hear differently, it doesn't mean he's out of the running. It still bears noting that Georgia has not released anything from Grantham saying that he's staying at UGA, because in the past that's what they've done. In fact, it's what happened last year, when the rumors weren't as hot as this one. That's either because Grantham isn't out of the running for the job yet - or Grantham and the Bulldogs believe it's good for recruiting purposes for it to look like he's under consideration for an NFL gig.
Monday morning (11:20 a.m.) update:
If there is a resolution today to the Eagles' defensive coordinator situation, it apparently won't involve Herrmann - the only man known to have interviewed.
Newsday is reporting, and several Philadelphia outlets have confirmed, that Herrmann withdrew his name from consideration. It's not known whether he did so because he didn't want the job (which would be a big promotion from linebackers coach with the Giants) or because he knew he wasn't going to get the job.
But on another note, NFL Network reporter Albert Breer tweeted this morning that the "Eagles are focusing their DC search on NFL guys first, is the way I hear it. For now, plan isn't to dip into the college ranks."
For what it's worth, Grantham continues to not respond to messages. And a UGA spokesman said as of 11 a.m. there were no plans for any announcements on their front.
Tuesday afternoon (2:30 p.m.) update:
There's really nothing of substance to report, so I just wanted to state that I'm going to hold off on any more updates until there's something that really moves the story.
I do get the sense that the longer it goes without any news, the more and more likely it means Grantham will remain Georgia's defensive coordinator. We can't close the door until the Eagles or Grantham say something definitive. But in the meantime, I'll hold off on reporting every bit of news that comes out of Philly or every recruiting visit that Grantham makes.
Wednesday morning (9:45 a.m.) update:
There have now been several reports out of Philadelphia within the past 24 hours that Ed Donatell, an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers, is the leading candidate to be the Eagles' defensive coordinator.
Of course, Donatell is busy the next couple weeks getting ready for the Super Bowl, so the Eagles won't be able to interview him, and thus may not announce him as the hire. And as I've said often, until the Eagles announce a hire, or Grantham and UGA say something definitive on their end, we can't quite put this to bed.
But it certainly seems that whenever the Eagles do make a hire, it won't be Grantham.