CRAWFORD | Grantham rejects Raiders, will remain defensive coordinator at Louisville
It's big news for U of L, which faced rough going with several commitments had Grantham departed on the eve of national signing day. It's expected Grantham will receive a contract enhancement, but none has yet been announced.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to have interviewed for the defensive coordinator position with the Oakland Raiders, but I'm committed to the University of Louisville,” Grantham said in a statement released by the school. “I said when I came to Louisville that I thought we could win a national championship, and we are building toward that goal with the success we had this season. Coach Petrino and Tom Jurich have given me a great opportunity and I'm grateful for their commitment. My family loves it in Louisville, and I think we are establishing something special here with head coach Bobby Petrino and our staff. Our main objective over the next week is to finish strong in recruiting and continue to bolster this signing class.”
The NFL Network first reported that the Raiders had offered Grantham the job this afternoon, and FootballScoop.com said that its sources said Grantham could yet remain at U of L.
A source told WDRB News that U of L offered Grantham a contract enhancement to pass up the Raiders interview, but the coach went ahead with his discussions with Raiders officials.
U of L head coach Bobby Petrino said Grantham's decision to stay is a big one for the program.
“We're very pleased and happy that Todd is going to be staying at the University of Louisville,” Petrino said. “He's done a fabulous job with our defense that ranked in the top 10. He's one of the finest assistant coaches in the country, and you expect excellent coaches like Todd to get opportunities in the NFL. I've always had respect for the job that Todd has done throughout his career, especially this past year at Louisville, and we're happy that he has and family will continue to be members of the Cardinals' family.”
Grantham proved his worth last season with a defense that was expected to be a major question mark heading into the Cardinals' first Atlantic Coast Conference campaign.
Instead, U of L's defense carried the team through the early going, and helped it navigate injuries and inexperience at the quarterback position.
U of L finished the season ranked sixth in total defense, and 10th nationally against the run. The Cardinals tied TCU and Louisiana Tech for the national lead with 26 interceptions, behind safety Gerrod Holliman's NCAA-record tying 14 picks. They also ranked 11th in sacks.
Grantham has plenty of NFL experience. He was defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns from 2005 to '07 and spent time in the league as defensive line coach for the Houston Texas (2002-04) and Indianapolis Colts (1999-01). His last stop in the NFL before leaving to become defensive coordinator at Georgia was as a defensive line coach for the 2008 Dallas Cowboys team that led the NFL with 59 sacks, including 13.5 from the defensive line.
Grantham spent four seasons in Georgia.
He's not the first U of L coach to be wooed by the Oakland Raiders. Petrino said he turned down the Raiders' offer to become their head coach three times in early 2006. He eventually left Louisville to become coach of the Atlanta Falcons in early 2007 after the Cardinals won the FedEx Orange Bowl.
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