Ex-Safety to Join 49ers Staff in Return to the NFC West


Getty The 49ers have added to their defensive staff with a former NFC West safety and coach on Monday, February 28.

A former rival of the San Francisco 49ers will now join the ‘Niners.

First reported by Aaron Wilson of the Pro Football Network on Monday, February 28, the franchise and head coach Kyle Shanahan will soon add Nick Sorensen to the coaching staff as a defensive assistant, after previously running the special teams unit with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Sorensen, who will soon enter his ninth year as an NFL coach, is also making an NFC West homecoming.

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Sorensen Played Safety in the NFL

The 43-year-old Sorensen has twice been a rival of the 49ers — with the shoulder pads and helmet and then with the headset.

Sorensen first entered the NFL out of Virginia Tech as an undrafted free agent signing with the Miami Dolphins in 2001. But he eventually made his way to the St. Louis Rams that same year in his first taste of the NFC West.

The safety played in three games against the 49ers according to Pro Football Reference: Totaling five tackles and going 2-1 when he was on the field against S.F. in his career. Sorensen played in 23 total games with the Rams.

In 2003, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder would cross over to the AFC and suit up for the Jaguars, where he spent his next four seasons. He ended up tallying 42 tackles, 35 solo stops and one forced fumble.

After the Jags, Sorensen spent his final four seasons in the league with the Cleveland Browns. He bettered his tackle totals there by collecting 69 tackles, 54 solo stops and delivered 0.5 sacks from 2007 to 2010.

Sorensen faced the 49ers once with the Browns: December 30, 2007 in the 20-7 victory by Cleveland.

Sorensen as a Coach

Then, when Sorensen took his dive into coaching, the first team to hire him was the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 as an assistant special teams coach.

And in his first season with the ‘Hawks, he was on the coaching staff that won the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl title.

Sorensen handled special teams duties for Seattle until the 2016 season when he was elevated to assistant defensive backs coach. His “assistant” tag was soon shed in 2017 — as he was named the team’s secondary coach from that season until 2020.

Sorensen went on to witness three more playoff appearances with the ‘Hawks from 2018 to 2020. None of those Seattle teams went past the second round and went 1-2 in those postseason games.

One notable player Sorensen got to coach toward the end of his Seattle stay was Quandre Diggs, who produced his first Pro Bowl season of 2020 with Sorensen running the defensive backs. He also coached Earl Thomas in the final two seasons of his Seahawks career, collecting five total picks before heading to the Baltimore Ravens in 2019.

Sorensen coached on the Seahawk teams that got the better end of the 49ers: Sweeping them from 2014 to 2017 and only lost twice versus the 49ers in 2018 (26-23 49ers road win on December 16) and in 2019 (26-21 road S.F. win) with that game deciding the NFC West champion.

Sorensen was among the staff hires made by former Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer before the longtime college football head coach’s firing from the team during the regular season. Sorensen was considered a “highly recommended hire” for Meyer.

Sorensen became one of two new outside hires made by the 49ers in a span of 24 hours. The team added Asauni Rufus (LSU grad assistant) to the staff as defensive quality control coach on the evening of Sunday, February 27, first reported by The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman.

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