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New York Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is already loved by media and fans alike, but he solidified that love on Friday when asked about why he passed on interviewing with the New York Jets this season.
“I don’t know, it’s nothing against them or anything. I’m just happy to be a New York Giant,” Graham told reporters.
Graham, who had drawn interest from the Jets in January, opted to sign an extension with the Giants and return to coaching their defense as opposed to taking on the role of head coach. It was a bold move, but one head coach Joe Judge insisted meant more than just a title.
“Keeping Pat here was definitely a priority for us,” Judge said in mid-January. “We know Pat’s gonna have a lot of opportunities going forward. He’s a very, very smart coach, he’s very good communicator, he has a lot of really good ideas and he’s very good getting the players to buy in and understand the concept he’s trying to do.
“I tell you what, that to me was huge. That was huge. Pat’s a great coach, he’s a good friend. Being able to keep him in this organization for as long as we can, that definitely was a priority. He’s a tremendous help to me, he carries that title of assistant head coach and that’s not just fluff on a sheet. He does a lot of things helping me internally.”
In his first open press conference since signing an extension, Graham reiterated that it was his “dream job” to coach the Giants’ defense. He had previously expressed similar sentiments to NJ Advance Media in February.
“You know, any time opportunities present themselves, you’re excited. Again, has a lot less to do with me and more the guys, the players here, we played decent defense as the year went on, a lot of room to grow. To me, the Giants, this is my dream job to be here as the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. So I’m just happy to be here,” Graham told reporters.
“Goes back to my days at Notre Dame with [Giants co-director of player personnel] Tim McDonnell when I knew him, a lot of my mentors, the people that I learned football from had connection with the New York Giants. That’s important to me. I happen to be here working with one of my friends, Joe Judge and I’ve got a great group of guys to work with and a great group of coaches and players. I mean, these guys, our coaches on defense, these guys are top-notch. Who wouldn’t want to have that work environment?”
The players are as thrilled as Graham. Many have expressed an appreciation of Graham, some calling him a human “computer.”
“We always joke around about how Pat is like a computer,” defensive lineman Leonard Williams said last December.
“He’s just like a genius when it comes to scheming guys and understanding who he has and who he has to go against. He just puts guys in a great position to play their best.”
Still, Graham didn’t completely rule out coaching a team in the future.
“Do I have a desire? Again, I told y’all a long time, I think about today. I have a desire to do well today,” Graham said.
And he meant it.
“We have third down going in today so I’m excited about that,” Graham added. “To be honest with you, it’s not the focus. The focus is to coach ballplayers, teach, be around these guys, do a good job for my boss, my head coach and whatever I’m doing, I’m making sure I’m making my parents proud and my family proud.”