Spagnuolo crossed off Redskins list

Feels could play important role in 'defense' of title
February 8, 2008 7:20:04 PM PST
The Washington Redskins eliminated Steve Spagnuolo on Thursday from their list of candidates to fill their coaching job."His heart is in New York City," Spagnuolo's agent, Bob Lamonte, told The Associated Press. "He loves the ownership. He loves the players. He feels he has to stay there."

The Giants promptly rewarded Spagnuolo with a three-year, $6 million contract, making the defensive coordinator one of the highest-paid assistants in the league.

With Spagnuolo crossed off the list, Ron Meeks, Jim Fassel and Steve Mariucci were among those who remained in contention to replace Joe Gibbs, who resigned Jan. 8. However, given the secretive nature of the process, the new coach could be a yet-to-be revealed candidate who has interviewed with owner Dan Snyder during the four weeks of the coaching search.

Snyder spent Thursday huddling with his advisers to decide his next move, a person familiar with the selection process told The Associated Press. A decision could be imminent, or the owner might instead arrange follow-up interviews with one or more candidates, the person said. The owner has said he hopes to have a coach in place by the end of the week.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the club has preferred to keep the details of its search private.

Spagnuolo left the Washington area Wednesday night after more than 16 hours of talks over two days at Snyder's house. Spagnuolo called Snyder on Thursday morning to withdraw.

"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."

Lamonte said he expects Spagnuolo to get a contract extension from the Giants.

"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."

Spagnuolo became a hot coaching commodity during the Giants' championship run, even though he had been a coordinator for only one season. His defense stifled the New England Patriots in the 17-14 Super Bowl victory.