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Bears a special team for Costanzo

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 31, 2012 – 2:08 pm

Seeing how much importance the Bears place on special teams brings a huge smile to Blake Costanzo’s face.

“If they didn’t, I wouldn’t have a job,” said Costanzo, a veteran special teams standout who signed with the Bears in March as a free agent. “It’s awesome to come here and for them to put an emphasis on it and value it the way they do. It allows us to go out there and do our job and have some fun doing it.”

After spending his first five NFL seasons with the Bills (2007-08), Browns (2009-10) and 49ers (2011), Costanzo is enjoying his first training camp with the Bears, especially the time in walkthroughs and practice devoted exclusively to special teams.

“It’s been awesome,” Costanzo said. “The guys that we have here are into special teams. We’re just out there getting better, trying to form our personality as a unit. It’s one-third of the game and coach [Lovie] Smith believes it could help us win some games, so we spend a lot of time on it, and that’s why they’ve had success here.”

Under the direction of coordinator Dave Toub, the Bears have ranked at or near the top of the league in special teams the past six seasons, leading the NFL in 2006 and 2007 and finishing third last year.

In 61 career games, Costanzo has registered 71 special teams tackles with four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. Last season the 6-1, 235-pounder ranked second on the 49ers with 17 special-teams tackles and led San Francisco with four stops in the playoffs. In the 49ers’ post-season win over the Saints, he forced a fumble on a punt return and recovered a fumble on a kickoff return.

Toub and the Bears expect Costanzo to become a leader on special teams, a role he is easing into.

“You’ve just got to know your role and get to know the guys,” Costanzo said. “When you get on the field, you just play as hard as you can and kind of prove it that way and earn your way just by playing hard in practice.”

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