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Grantham signed to extension

Steve King, Staff Writer


About 15 minutes after general manager Phil Savage had finished an impromptu, on-the-field press conference Thursday morning to announce that Grantham had been signed to a two-year contract extension, the defensive coordinator, the veins sticking out of his neck, screamed instructions to his players so loudly that he could be heard above everyone -- and everything -- else.

Same ol' Todd Grantham, one of the most animated and emotionally-charged assistants the Browns have ever had,

"Todd is a fiery guy," said inside linebacker Andra Davis, the second-longest-tenured starter on the Browns defense. We feed off him."

Now they'll be able to feed off him through the 2009 season.

"I feel very fortunate," Grantham, who came to the Browns in 2005 after serving for three seasons as defensive line coach of the Houston Texans, said following practice as the Browns wrapped up their three-day full-squad minicamp. "Anytime you can have some security in this profession, it's good."

According to Savage, the deal had been in the works for the last several months but was finalized in "the last week or so."

He added, "We think Todd is a terrific coach with a tremendous upside who has the potential to be a head coach someday."

It almost happened late last season when Michigan State, where Grantham had served as an assistant from 1996-98, was looking for a head coach to replace the fired John L. Smith. Grantham was a finalist but didn't get the job.

This is a way for the Browns to show that after nearly losing him, they want to do everything they can to keep him. He originally came to the Browns in 2005 when Savage and head coach Romeo Crennel were hired.

"We were monitoring the Michigan State situation," Savage said. "But I think Todd is very convinced that we're on the right path here as well and we're going to win. We're about halfway through this (turning the team around), and I think Todd wants to part of it and see it through."

Grantham acknowledged that, saying, "Michigan State was a tough situation. I like it here. We're moving in the right direction. There are a lot of positives here. I'm very happy with the Browns. I think the future is bright."

Savage said that considering Grantham's rapport with his players, and the fact he has already spent two years leading the Browns through the difficult conversion from a 4-3 defensive scheme to a 3-4, "It just made sense to continue going down this same path."

Grantham inherited a defense wit a lot of holes in 2005 -- one that, in a three-game span late in the '04 season, gave up a combined 137 points, the largest such total in franchise history.

"These guys have played hard for me since day one," the 40-year-old Grantham said. "As we increase the talent on the team, the production we want will come along with it."

In the meantime, Grantham will get back to work.

"I'm very grateful to the owner, Randy Lerner," he said. "I have a lot of respect for him and what he's trying to accomplish with this franchise. He has a lot of passion. The fact that he and the Browns have so much confidence in me means a lot.

"And I want to thank Romeo Crennel for giving me the chance to be a defensive coordinator in this league."

Like Grantham, Crennel was a defensive line coach before being named defensive coordinator for the first time -- in 2000 with the Browns.

"Todd is a good young coach who is thorough," Crennel said. "He's doing a good job."