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Bears hire Donatell to coach DBs

Posted Jan 21, 2015

The Bears on Wednesday reached an agreement with Ed Donatell to become their defensive backs coach.

The Bears on Wednesday reached an agreement with Ed Donatell to become their defensive backs coach.

Donatell has 24 years of NFL experience, including 16 as a defensive backs coach and seven as a defensive coordinator. He has coached some of the top DBs in NFL history including Ronnie Lott, Steve Atwater, LeRoy Butler, Ty Law, Darren Sharper, Lawyer Milloy, Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins.

Ed Donatell
Donatell spent the past four years working under new Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio as defensive backs coach with the 49ers. In each of those seasons, San Francisco’s defense ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in both points and yards.

During that span the 49ers defense ranked second in points and opponent passer rating, tied for second in interceptions, were third in total yards and ranked sixth in passing yards.

Four 49ers defensive backs were voted to a total of six Pro Bowls under Donatell’s tutelage: Cornerback Carlos Rogers (2011) and safeties Dashon Goldson (2011-12), Donte Whitner (2011-12) and Eric Reid (2013).

Prior to joining the 49ers, Donatell served as defensive backs coach with the Denver Broncos in 2009-10, his second stint with the team. He previously worked as a special assistant with the New York Jets in 2007 and as defensive coordinator at the University of Washington in 2008.

Donatell spent 11 seasons coaching at the collegiate level before entering the NFL as defensive backs coach with the New York Jets (1990-94) and Broncos (1995-99), winning back-to-back Super Bowls with Denver as a member of Mike Shanahan’s coaching staff.

Donatell then served as defensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers (2000-03) and Atlanta Falcons (2004-06). The Packers led the NFL with 116 takeaways from 2001-03. In 2002, the Green Bay defense set a team record that still stands with 52 sacks and led the NFL with 45 takeaways.

In Donatell’s first season with the Falcons in 2004, they advanced to the NFC Championship Game after leading the NFL in sacks with 48 for the first time in franchise history.

Donatell replaces Jon Hoke with the Bears. Hoke and strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Clark have been informed that they will not return to the team.
Donatell is the sixth assistant to join new Bears coach John Fox's staff, joining Fangio, Jeff Rodgers (special teams coordinator), Dave Magazu (offensive line), Sam Garnes (assistant defensive backs) and Derius Swinton II (assistant special teams).