Browns sign defensive coordinator to extension |
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The Associated Press

BEREA, Ohio — Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham agreed to a two-year contract extension on Thursday with the Cleveland Browns, a deal that will keep him with the club through the 2009 season.

Grantham joins coach Romeo Crennel and first-year offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who also have deals through ’09.

“We’re excited about it,” general manager Phil Savage said. “It’s another step toward continuity, and that’s really what we’re striving to get to. He’s a terrific coach, and we think he has good upside and has potential to be a head coach in time.”

With Crennel facing what’s considered a pivotal season after going 10-22 in his first two years, Grantham would be the front-runner to replace him, at least in an interim role.

Grantham almost became a head coach last year when he was a finalist for the Michigan State job.

“Anytime an opportunity comes up, you want to evaluate them,” Grantham said. “That one was really tough for me. I’m very happy here and I think the future’s very bright and a lot of positive things are coming in the near future.”

Grantham came to the Browns in 2005 to take his first coordinator job after working as a defensive line coach with the Houston Texans from 2002-04. He had never worked with Crennel, but had experience with the 3-4 scheme.

“Todd is a good young coach,” Crennel said. “He is thorough. He is on top of it. We get along good.”

The Browns suffered a number of injuries and ranked 27th in total defense in 2006, allowing 344.8 yards a game. The rushing defense was 29th (142.2 yards) and the passing defense 15th (202.6).

The Browns ranked 22nd in scoring, allowing 22.3 points a game.

“I feel very fortunate,” said Grantham, who praised owner Randy Lerner, Savage and Crennel. “For them to have confidence in me means a lot.”

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