Bears’ Matt Eberflus adds to new Chicago staff, hires Richard Hightower as special teams coordinator

Michael Zagaris / Contributor

There’s a new special teams coordinator in the NFC North, which means the other respective shoe will likely soon drop in one of the most passionate divisions in the NFL. After landing Matt Eberflus as the new head coach, the Chicago Bears went to work fleshing out his staff, and that included figuring out who’d be the club’s special teams coordinator. The decision has now been made, with Richard Hightower set to leave the San Francisco 49ers to take his talents to the Windy City — the team announced on Pro Bowl Sunday.

It’s a major get for Eberflus, and also positions Las Vegas Raiders special teams coordinator and former interim head coach Rich Bisaccia — someone the Bears also saw a strong candidate for their special teams vacancy — on track to likely land with the Green Bay Packers

As for Hightower, well, he knows a little something about those Packers, considering it was his special teams unit with the 49ers that ultimately broke the game open for San Francisco in the divisional round at Lambeau Field. And, thanks to that special teams touchdown, the Packers were flung into an early offseason and questions about the future of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay instantly reemerged, as Hightower and the 49ers went on to advance to the NFC Championship before being narrowly ousted by the Los Angeles Rams — in large part thanks to a dropped interception by safety Jaquiski Tartt and a season-ending INT tossed by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Hightower brings a wealth of experience to the role in Chicago, having spent the last five seasons as special teams coordinator under head coach Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, having ascended to the role after years of being an assistant special teams coordinator for several NFL teams — dating back to 2008 — including these very same Bears in 2016. He’d leave the Bears for a promotion with the 49ers but, half a decade later, he’s heading back to Soldier Field.

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