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Former 49ers special teams coordinator Richard Hightower signs with Bears

The 49ers will officially be in the market for a new special teams coordinator in the offseason. Richard Hightower who held that position for San Francisco last season is joining the Chicago Bears coaching staff under the same title the team announced Sunday.

Hightower’s exit from the 49ers isn’t a huge surprise considering their struggles on special teams last season. They finished No. 26 in Football Outsiders’ special teams DVOA, and that fits the eye test for that unit. They allowed multiple fake punts to go for first downs or touchdowns, their return game struggled and their kick coverage was lackluster.

This will be Hightower’s second stint with the Bears. He was their assistant special teams coordinator for the 2016 season before joining the 49ers as the special teams coordinator when Kyle Shanahan arrived as head coach in 2017.

Shanahan and Hightower played football together at the University of Texas, and coached together in Houston when Hightower broke into the NFL as an assistant for the Texans in 2006. He also coached with Shanahan in Washington and Cleveland.


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