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AP sources: Saints' Nielsen passes on LSU job, stays in NFL

(AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman, File)

By BRETT MARTEL

AP Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen informed LSU on Tuesday that he will not take the Tigers' defensive coordinator job after initially agreeing in principle to do to so, two people familiar with the situation said.

The people spoke to The Associated Press Tuesday on condition on anonymity because negotiations have not been made public by LSU or the Saints. A person told the AP on Monday that Nielsen had agreed in principle to take the LSU position, but that some outstanding contract issues still needed to be resolved.

Another person told the AP on Tuesday that the Saints have promoted Nielsen to assistant head coach.

LSU will continue its search for its third defensive coordinator in three seasons.

Dave Aranda left after LSU's 2019 national championship season to become Baylor's head coach. His replacement, Bo Pelini, left after a difficult 2020 season, during which the Tigers ranked 124th nationally in total defense, allowing 492 yards per game.

Nielsen has been the defensive line coach for all four on the Saints' NFC South-winning squads from 2017 to 2020. He also has history with LSU coach Ed Orgeron, having played at Southern California when Orgeron was a defensive line coach there, and having coached on Orgeron's staff at Mississippi from 2005 to 2007.

With New Orleans, Nielsen has overseen a defensive front that totaled 45 sacks this season, eighth most in the NFL. The Saints averaged nearly 47 sacks during the past four seasons, always ranking in the top eight in the league during that span. The Saints also consistently ranked near the top in run defense, including fourth in 2020. ---

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Updated January 20, 2021

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