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January 20, 2011
Niners eying veteran special teams coach

Every year Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News issues a highly anticipated ranking of the league's special teams units. The special teams coordinator who won the top honor last year is being eyed by the 49ers as their new coordinator, according to two reports. Adam Schefter of ESPN says that the 49ers are in talks with the Cleveland Brown's Brad Seely while the Cleveland Plain-Dealer writes that Seely has left the Browns, presumably for the 49ers.

If that's the case, Jim Harbaugh has reeled in one of the top special teams coordinators in the league and one with 22 years of NFL coaching experience. Seely and the Browns won the Morning News' award for the 2009 season, one in which Cleveland finished with the worst offense in the league and the 31st-ranked defense. The special teams unit, led by return man Josh Cribbs, was outstanding and was a big factor in three of the team's five wins that season. Gosselin's rankings for 2010 have not been released.

"It's an attitude," Seely said in a story that accompanied the rankings. "It's guys taking pride in what you're doing and wanting to be good - feeling like they can be a positive factor in a football game. ... We've always stressed that wherever I've been - special teams can help us win games. It's a tangible thing ... a belief that we can be the best at what we do this year."

The 49ers have not issued any information about assistants on Mike Singletary's former staff, including 2010 special teams coordinator Kurt Schottenheimer and his assistant, Dave Fipp.

Seely's coaching background:
1978 South Dakota State, assistant coach
1979 Colorado State, graduate assistant
1980 Colorado State, offensive line coach
1981 Southern Methodist, offensive line coach
1982 North Carolina State, offensive line coach
1983 Pacific, offensive line coach
1984-88 Oklahoma State, offensive line coach
1989-93 Indianapolis Colts, special teams coach/tight ends coach
1994 New York Jets, special teams coach
1995-98 Carolina Panthers, special teams coach
1999-08 New England Patriots, special teams coach
2009-10 Cleveland Browns, assistant head coach/special teams coordinator

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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