Packers interviewed Saints assistant head coach Ryan Neilsen for defensive coordinator

The New Orleans Saints manage to thwart attempts from LSU to hire away assistant head coach Ryan Nielsen to serve as their defensive coordinator last month.

Now they have a direct competitor taking a run at him as well.

According to multiple reports, the Green Bay Packers have interviewed Nielsen for their vacant defensive coordinator position. The Packers are searching for a replace for Mike Pettine, who was not retained by the team after the NFC Championship. Per Amie Just of, the interview with Nielsen was on Tuesday.

Nielsen was set to leave the Saints for the coordinator job at LSU before the team informed him his contract prevents him from leaving for such a position. The team gave him a new deal and added the title of assistant head coach following Dan Campbellā€™s departure to take the head coaching job with the Detroit Lions.

Per Rob Demovsky of, the Packers also intend to interview, or have interviewed, Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, Cleveland Browns defensive line coach Chris Kiffin, Eagles defensive line coach Matt Burke, Chargers defensive passing game coordinator Joe Barry, Washington Football Team defensive backs coach Chris Harris, Los Angeles Rams safeties coach Ejiro Evero, Falcons senior assistant Bob Sutton and their own defensive backs coach Jerry Gray for the role.

Nielsen has spent the last four years with the Saints after 15 years at the collegiate level.