NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -Less than a week after winning the Super Bowl, the New York Giants got the 2008 season off to a good start by retaining defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Just hours after Spagnuolo withdrew his name from consideration for the Washington Redskins coaching job on Thursday, the Giants gave the 48-year-old a new three-year, $6 million contract that will make him one of the NFL's highest paid coordinators.
``I was happy to have the opportunity to explore that situation,'' Spagnuolo said in a statement released by the Giants. ``But I am equally happy to be staying in New York and look forward to continued success with the Giants.''
Spagnuolo left the Washington area Wednesday night after more than 16 hours of talks over two days with Redskins owner Dan Snyder. He called Snyder on Thursday morning to withdraw.
``His heart is in New York City,'' Bob LaMonte, Spagnuolo's agent, told The Associated Press. ``He loves the ownership. He loves the players. He feels he has to stay there.''
did wonders in his first season as a coordinator, culminating in a spectacular effort by the defense in the Super Bowl.
It held Tom Brady and the Patriots' record-setting offense to 14 points, its lowest output in 25 games, and 274 total yards. New England had averaged almost 37 points and just over 411 yards in the regular season.
The Giants also sacked Brady five times and hit him 18 more. During the season, the NFL MVP was sacked 21 times.
``Steve is a hard worker who has quickly earned the respect of the players and coaches,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. ``And he has earned the consideration he is being given. Needless to say, I am happy that he will be remaining here.''
Co-owner John Mara recalled that when Spagnuolo was hired, he came to the Giants as a no-nonsense, hard-working, energetic young coach who had paid his dues.
``Steve demonstrated all of that and more this season, and we have made the appropriate adjustments in our commitment to Steve in recognition of what he and the defensive coaches and players achieved this season,'' Mara said.
Under Spagnuolo's direction, the defense improved from 25th to seventh in the NFL rankings, allowing 305 yards per game, 37 less than the year before. The pass defense, which was 29th the year before, finished 11th, allowing 207.3 yards. The rush defense went from 14th to eighth, allowing 97.7 yards.
With Spagnuolo staying, the leading candidates for the Redskins job are former Giants coach Jim Fassel, Ron Meeks and Steve Mariucci.
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