ATHENS - Todd Grantham did not duck the media. The Georgia defensive coordinator, reported to be interviewing for an NFL job a day from now, stood for nearly 20 minutes and took questions about it - without ever revealing anything.
The takeaway was twofold: Grantham said several times he "fully expects" to be back at Georgia next season. But he also never denied that he will interview for the New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator job, or for the same job with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"Right now I'm the defensive coordinator at Georgia and I'm certainly looking forward to coaching those guys," Grantham said, alluding to the recruits his team had signed on Wednesday. "You know what, I get a lot of inquiries all the time. And there's no way that I'm gonna comment on any particular one, because if I did there was no way I could do my job."
But, as it was pointed out to Grantham, he did release a statement last year to deny interest in NFL jobs.
Never miss a local story.
"Yeah, and you know what after thinking about it I realized that was a mistake," Grantham said. "Because it seems that things keep popping up from time to time, so I think the best thing to do is let things be as they are and move on."
So what did Grantham tell recruits about whether he would be at Georgia to coach them?
"I told guys that I love Georgia, and I think this is a great place. My family loves it, and I love it, and I fully expect to be here," he said. "But as coaches, if things come up, you're always gonna say, Hey, what's best for your family, and see what happens. Nothing's come up for me from the standpoint of I feel like I have to contractually say something."
By that, Grantham was alluding to his contract, which stipulates he must inform athletics director Greg McGarity if he will have substantive discussions about another job.
"If I feel like I need to discuss something, I have a great relationship with coach Richt, and with Greg, and I would definitely do that," Grantham said. "For me the most important thing is doing a great job at Georgia. Because I like my job here. At the same time, as you move forward, if opportunities came up, I don't think it's fair to comment on every particular one, because then all I'd be doing is talking about the rumors and innuendos and those types of things. And then I wouldn't be able to do my job.
"At the end of the day when you have time to reflect and sit down, the first thing you always do is you say: What's the best thing for your family. Because you have a family to take care of. And as you answer those questions, it kind of filters out to the way you want it."
Several times, Grantham was asked flatly if he was set to interview with the Saints on Thursday, as the New Orleans Times-Picayune has reported. Each time Grantham declined to answer.
And several times, he made clear he understood his "contractual obligation" to let McGarity know of any interview, and said he had not needed to let him know of anything yet.
"You have my contract, you can read that," Grantham said, smiling.
Oh, we have, reporters told him.
"I know," Grantham said, still smiling.
At this point, levity had taken over, both sides being intractable. So a reporter asked - only half-kiddingly - if Grantham could call McGarity from the airport saying he was about to get on the plane, and still be within his contract.
"I'm not sure about that. That's a good idea," Grantham said, still smiling. "I should hire you."
What are the tail numbers for the Saints and Eagles' planes so their activities could be tailed?
"I don't know, why don't you tell me," Grantham said, cracking up again with laughter.
Finally, a reporter said they wanted an actual football question.
"Thank you!" Grantham said.