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Spagnuolo grateful for chance to get feet underneath him

Steve Spagnuolo

New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo watches from the sideline during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)


After being kicked in the teeth and fired from his last two jobs, Steve Spagnuolo was thinking about taking a year off.

But a round of visits to colleges and the conversations he had with coaches there lit the spark again, and then he found a familiar face to give him another chance.

Now a senior defensive consultant with the Ravens, he can shake off the disappointment of his ill-fated tenure as Rams head coach, and being the defensive coordinator who led the Saints to the worst statistical defense in league history last season.

“It’s been a tough few years, but I’m focusing forward and I’m excited,” Spagnuolo said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “The way I look at this is [it’s] a privilege to be a part of a great organization. I’m just a lucky man, very lucky. You learn more from the setbacks than you do really from the successes.

“I think the book has gotten thicker and thicker of notes and a lot of things not to do, but a lot of things we felt really good about. God has a plan for everybody. Mine happens to be taking this road, and it brought me here, and I’m ecstatic about it.”

He should be, after he was dealt some bad hands, and failed to make them better.

The Rams job at the time he took it was a bad one without a quarterback, and he went 10-38 in three seasons. He took over the Saints after the bounty scandal robbed them of their head coach and some players, the fit was poor from the start, and Payton fired him shortly after being reinstated.

Now, he gets to work with an old friend in John Harbaugh, who created a position for his old Philadelphia co-worker.

“That’s a big-time blessing,” Spagnuolo said. “You leave each other, and you hope someday that you are back together. . . .

“I’m fortunate to know somebody that I care about, have a great deal of respect for, and he was willing to bring me in when he really didn’t need to. He didn’t need to add anything. They have everything they need.”

Now they have another set of eyes on the defensive coaching staff, and a guy who is trying to reclaim his reputation as an ascending coach after four rough seasons.