Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who interviewed Thursday for a job as the New Orleans Saints' defensive coordinator, has taken himself out of the running.
Grantham issued a statement through UGA Friday night saying he was going to remain with the Bulldogs.
"I want to thank (coach) Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints organization for the opportunity to interview and get to know them. They are a first-class organization in every respect," Grantham said. "As I said Wednesday, Georgia is a great place, my family loves it here, and I do as well. This is where our heart is."
The Saints are expected to hire recently-dismissed Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who interviewed on Friday.
Grantham, an NFL assistant coach for 11 years, has been Georgia's defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. The Bulldogs are losing nine starters off their 2012 defense, including All-American outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, inside linebacker Alec Ogletree and noseguard John Jenkins, all of whom are expected to be drafted in the first round. Georgia just signed 18 defensive players in their 2013 recruiting class.
"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.
Earlier Friday, some recruits who came to Georgia early said they remained hopeful they could still play for the fiery defensive coordinator.
"I'm a Bulldog; I came here to be a Bulldog," said linebacker Reggie Carter of Snellville, a midyear enrollee. "That's Coach Grantham's business, but I'd prefer to play for him."
Grantham's name had been circulating as a candidate for NFL defensive coordinator jobs since the second week of January, which is an important time for recruiting. He commented on it for the first time on Wednesday, which was national signing day, and confirmed that he would be interviewing with the Saints on Thursday.
It's not likely to be Grantham's last flirtation the NFL. He has a clause in the three-year, $2.4 million contract he signed with Georgia in January of 2012 that allows him to leave the Bulldogs for an NFL coordinator's job or a college head coaching job without penalty. If has to reimburse Georgia if he makes a lateral move to another college or takes a job as an NFL assistant.