Giants rehire Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The New York Giants are bringing back Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator.

Spagnuolo was hired Thursday, returning to the team he helped win the 2007 NFL championship.

New York also hired Tim Walton as secondary/cornerbacks coach.

The 55-year-old Spagnuolo, a 34-year coaching veteran who had a failed stint as head coach of the Rams, was a defensive assistant in Baltimore the past two seasons. He replaces Perry Fewell on coach Tom Coughlin's staff.

''This is both new and familiar at the same time,'' Spagnuolo said. ''I was hoping to take the next step, God willing, and be a coordinator again. I'm ecstatic that it's with Tom Coughlin. Tom is the highest character guy I know.

''The feeling I have is one of excitement. We're going to work our butts off, and hopefully we will do great things together.''

They did before.

Hired by the Giants on Jan. 22, 2007 after eight years with the Philadelphia Eagles, Spagnuolo's first unit at the Meadowlands led the NFL with 53 sacks. The Giants went on the road to win three playoff games, then stunned the unbeaten Patriots in the Super Bowl, allowing an average of 16.3 points per game in that postseason.

''That really was a special time,'' Spagnuolo said.

In 2008, the Giants' defense allowed 294 points, 57 fewer than the previous season. That helped Spagnuolo get the head coaching job in St. Louis, where he went 10-28.

In 2012, he joined the Saints as defensive coordinator, but that was the year of the bounty scandal, with coach Sean Payton suspended.

After that season, Spagnuolo went to the Ravens.

Now he is back with the Giants.

''Steve has so much enthusiasm in front of the room,'' Coughlin said. ''His defense has changed since he was last here. He worked in Baltimore with John Harbaugh and Dean Pees, and they are outstanding defensive coaches. He has studied defenses. Steve visited colleges and talked to college coaches, including Urban Meyer to learn how to defend the spread offenses that have become so popular.''

Walton, 43, will replace Peter Giunta. Walton was the Rams' defensive coordinator in 2013. He is entering his 20th season in coaching.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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