Former 49ers secondary coach Ed Donatell reached an agreement Wednesday to re-join defensive coordinator Vic Fangio with the Chicago Bears, the club announced.
Donatell spent four seasons with the 49ers. The team ranked fifth in the NFL in pass defense last season despite constant shuffling the secondary, beginning with top cornerback Tramaine Brock’s toe injury early in the first game of the season opener.
The 49ers led the league with 23 interceptions. The 49ers were seventh in the league in pass defense in 2013, and fourth in 2012.
Fangio and Donatell were not retained on new 49ers coach Jim Tomsula's staff last week. New Bears coach John Fox hired Fangio as his top defensive assistant on Tuesday. The 49ers are scheduled to play a 2015 regular-season game at Chicago.
In Donatell’s first two seasons with the 49ers, the organization blocked him from opportunities to interview for defensive coordinator positions with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints.
Per the NFL’s anti-tampering policy, there are two tiers of coaching staffs: head coach and all assistant coaches. Teams are not permitted to block an assistant coach from a head-coaching opportunity. But a team is under no obligation to grant an assistant coach the opportunity to discuss another assistant-coaching position with an interested club.