Bubba Ventrone

Browns To Hire Bubba Ventrone As Special Teams Coordinator

Bubba Ventrone spent the past five seasons in Indianapolis and interviewed for the franchise’s head coaching job last month, but he will be moving soon. The Browns are hiring him as special teams coordinator, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweets.

For Ventrone, this will be a return trip. His longest stint as a player came in Cleveland, where he played from 2009-12. The former special-teamer will now head up the Browns’ ST operation. Ventrone will also be an assistant head coach in Cleveland, per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who notes that bump helped convince the well-regarded staffer to sign on with the Browns (Twitter link).

The Browns interviewed Ventrone, 40, this week for the position. They also met with Giants assistant special teams coach Anthony Blevins and former return ace Leon Washington, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Washington has spent the past two seasons as the Jets’ assistant special teams coach.

Amid one of the most disappointing seasons in Colts history, they still charted as the eighth-best special teams unit on veteran NFL reporter Rick Gosselin’s annual list. (The Browns ranked 18th here in 2022.) The Colts were a top-five unit on Gosselin’s 2020 and 2021 lists. George Odum and Ashton Dulin earned All-Pro acclaim during that span, as did long snapper Luke Rhodes.

The Colts firing Frank Reich midway through this past season opened the door for most of his assistants to leave. Ventrone will return to the organization that signed him in 2009 and gave him a three-year extension in 2010. Ventrone had attended Shane Steichen‘s introductory press conference, and Mike Chappell of CBS4 notes the Colts attempted to convince him to stay; he was still under contract with the team. But they eventually permitted the Browns interview. Several players wanted Ventrone to be the interim HC, Zak Keefer of The Athletic tweets, but Jim Irsay of course gave that position to Jeff Saturday.

Cleveland dismissed Mike Priefer as its ST coordinator earlier this week. A veteran ST coordinator, Priefer had spent the past four seasons in this position. The Browns kept the Cleveland native on from Freddie Kitchens‘ staff, though Priefer had worked extensively with Kevin Stefanski in Minnesota during the 2010s. Still, Stefanski will now go with Ventrone; the two have not previously worked together. A 10-year NFL veteran, Ventrone began his coaching foray as the Patriots’ assistant special teams coach from 2015-17.

AFC Coaching Notes: Ventrone, Browns, Broncos, Joseph, Raiders, Dolphins, Texans

After the Colts changed coaching staffs, Bubba Ventrone will have an opportunity to land on his feet. The Indianapolis special teams coordinator is on track to interview with the Browns, and ESPN.com’s Stephen Holder tweets the Colts are expecting to lose him to the Cleveland job. Ventrone spent five seasons in Indianapolis and is a well-regarded ST coordinator. The Browns are also interviewing Giants assistant special teams coach Anthony Blevins, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweets. That meeting is expected to commence via Zoom today, per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson (on Twitter). The Browns fired ST coordinator Mike Preiffer earlier this week. Blevins has been with the Giants for the past five years.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Prior to the Cardinals making Nick Rallis the NFL’s youngest active coordinator, at 29, the Broncos had him on their radar. Denver showed interest in the former Philadelphia linebackers coach, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes. Rallis is a cool 31 years younger than the favorite to land the Denver job (Rex Ryan), but the Broncos are still eyeing Vance Joseph. Despite being fired after two seasons as Denver’s HC, Joseph is interested in coming back, Renck adds. The Eagles also have eyes on the ex-Cardinals DC; they are finishing up a two-day interview Wednesday.
  • The Colts are hiring University of Cincinnati offensive coordinator Tom Manning as their tight ends coach, Aaron Wilson of KPRC tweets. This will be a reunion for Manning, who was on Frank Reich‘s first Colts staff as tight ends coach. Manning had recently accepted Cincinnati’s offer to be its OC, coming over after a four-year stay on Matt Campbell‘s Iowa State staff. The ex-Cyclones OC drew interest from multiple NFL teams, per Wilson.
  • The Browns will look to the college ranks as well. They are set to hire Utah State defensive coordinator Ephraim Banda to be their safeties coach, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel (Twitter links). Prior to his two-year run in Utah, Banda spent the previous two seasons as the University of Miami’s co-DC.
  • To fill their safeties coach post, the Dolphins are adding Eagles assistant Joe Kasper, Cameron Wolfe of NFL.com tweets. Kasper joined the Eagles’ staff in Nick Sirianni‘s first year; this will be a move up the ladder, bringing positional responsibilities Kasper’s way for the first time.
  • The Raiders fired defensive line coach Frank Okam, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes. A former NFL D-lineman, Okam came to Las Vegas after two years on Matt Rhule‘s Carolina staff. The Raiders struggled on defense for most of the season, dropping from 14th to 28th in total defense. Rather than can DC Patrick Graham, the team is moving on from one of his lieutenants.
  • In addition to ST coordinator Frank Ross, the Texans are also retaining wide receivers coach Ben McDaniels, Wilson writes. The younger brother of Josh McDaniels, Ben has been with the Texans since Nick Caserio‘s 2021 arrival. While Ben McDaniels has never worked for the Patriots, Caserio has been close with Josh McDaniels for many years. The Texans promoted Ben McDaniels from assistant wideouts coach in 2022.

Browns Fire ST Coordinator Mike Priefer

In an offseason which already saw the Browns make a change at defensive coordinator, another notable shake-up has taken place on the sidelines. The team announced on Tuesday that they have parted ways with special teams coordinator Mike Priefer.

The 56-year-old has been a coordinator at the NFL level since 2006, when he joined the Chiefs. He had brief stints there and in Denver, which set him up for a lengthy stay with the Vikings. He worked in Minnesota from 2011 to 2018, spending time alongside Kevin Stefanski. It was there that Priefer was named Special Teams Coordinator of the Year for the 2012 campaign.

The Cleveland native was hired by the Browns in 2019 under head coach Freddie Kitchens, then reunited with Stefanski one year later. Under Priefer, the Browns ranked 27th the NFL in 2020 in terms of special teams DVOA, climbing slightly to 25th the following season. In 2022, the unit finished midpack in that regard, ranking 14th, leading many to believe he would be retained for at least one more season.

Priefer was under contract for 2023, but he now joins Joe Woods as a Browns coordinator in search of a new NFL home. Woods has landed another DC job by joining the Saints, and Priefer will look to parlay his experience (which includes a few instances stepping in as head coach from his time in Minnesota and Cleveland) into another coordinator position.

“I appreciate everything Prief has done for this team in his three seasons as my special teams coordinator, but I have decided to move in another direction in the best interest of our organization,” Stefanski said in a statement“I know this city will forever be grateful for the job he did as acting head coach in our AFC wild card win and for all his contributions while leading the Browns special teams units for the last four seasons. We wish Prief the best with his next opportunity.”

The Browns may already have Priefer’s replacement lined up. Cleveland has requested an interview with Colts special teams coordinator RaymondBubba’ Ventrone, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). A three-year veteran of the Browns as a player, the 40-year-old has been in charge of Indianapolis’ third phase since 2018 and has multiple options to consider, Pelissero’s colleague Mike Garafolo tweets. Since a move to Cleveland would be a lateral one, the Colts have the option of blocking the request.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers, Broncos and Texans’ hires, this year’s vacancy count sits at two. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 2-14-23 (1:30pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Poll: Who Will Become Next Colts HC?

Five years after their Josh McDaniels-to-Frank Reich pivot, the Colts are again conducting a rather interesting head coaching search. This process may well produce an unusual stage.

Indianapolis potentially planning a third round on HC interviews, after holding 12-hour meetings — in some cases — with candidates during the second round, adds a memorable wrinkle to its search to replace Reich. A third round of a coaching search has not happened in at least 40 years, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star notes. GM Chris Ballard has run the search, but Jim Irsay will make the call. Where will this search end up?

Almost everyone involved in this Indy journey has been mentioned as a finalist or scheduled a second interview. Dan Quinn hopped off the ride midway through, doing so hours after he scheduled a second meeting about the position. Ben Johnson backed out after his virtual interview, staying with the Lions. Giants OC Mike Kafka also has not been mentioned as being summoned for a second meeting. DeMeco Ryans cancelled his virtual interview and chose the Texans over the Broncos. Jim Harbaugh was mentioned as a candidate in December, but the ex-Colts QB did not interview. Otherwise, this search remains one of the most wide open in memory.

Rich Bisaccia, Brian Callahan, Ejiro Evero, Aaron Glenn, Don Martindale, Raheem Morris, Jeff Saturday and Shane Steichen have either gone through a second interview or will do so soon. Eric Bieniemy and Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone have also been mentioned as potential finalists, though neither is believed to have scheduled a second meeting.

This search has produced the rare mix of all three phases, with Bisaccia and Ventrone representing the special teams wing. Ventrone, 40, was Reich’s ST coordinator throughout the latter’s HC tenure, while Bisaccia, 62, is the rare interim HC to have guided his team to the playoffs. The Raiders passed on Bisaccia, leading him to Green Bay. Could he join John Harbaugh as a former ST coordinator to become a head coach?

Irsay went offense twice in 2018, hiring McDaniels and then Reich. This year’s lot of OCs in contention includes Andy Reid‘s right-hand man. Ballard and Bieniemy worked together in Kansas City for four years, and since Ballard left for Indiana, Bieniemy has become Reid’s top lieutenant. Of course, that has famously not led to a head coaching opportunity. Both Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy earned HC chances as Reid’s HC, but teams have paused on Bieniemy, 53. After this latest Chiefs attack led the NFL in offensive DVOA despite trading Tyreek Hill, will the Colts be the team that goes with the oft-bypassed candidate?

Callahan and Steichen are the only other offense-based candidates linked to having paths to the job. Steichen is just 37 and worked with Reich during the future Colts leader’s time as Chargers OC. Ex-Reich lieutenant Nick Sirianni gave Steichen the play-calling reins midway through last season, and it made a major difference in the Eagles’ trajectory. Philadelphia led the NFL in rushing in 2021 and has produced a top-three attack this year, as Jalen Hurts has made considerable strides as a passer. Callahan, 38, does not call plays in Cincinnati but is a candidate for both the Colts and Cardinals’ HC gigs. Joe Burrow is primed to book one of Zac Taylor‘s assistants a promotion, and Callahan is this year’s candidate.

Evero, 42, leads the league in connections to jobs during this year’s cycle, being summoned by all five HC-seeking teams for interviews and being pursued for DC gigs. It appears the Broncos’ DC will land on his feet, despite Nathaniel Hackett‘s one-and-done, and Denver remains interested in keeping him. The Rams also have Evero in mind as a Morris contingency plan. Morris, 46, would be a second-chance HC, but the ex-Buccaneers leader’s first chance came more than 10 years ago. He has rebuilt his stock in Los Angeles, helping the Rams to a Super Bowl LVI win, and Sean McVay staffers are quite popular on coaching carousels. Morris also has a near-three-month run as an interim leader under his belt, having replaced Quinn with the 2020 Falcons.

Martindale, 59 is believed to have interviewed well in his second meeting (the Irsay stage), and he played a key role in the Giants making a surprising surge to the divisional round. He coached the Ravens to three top-five defensive finishes in four DC seasons. Glenn, 50, started late in coaching due to his playing career spanning 16 seasons. The ex-cornerback joins Evero and Callahan as Cards candidates.

Saturday, of course, is the main variable here. Irsay stunned the NFL by hiring the former Pro Bowl center as his interim coach, pulling him off various ESPN sets and onto the sideline. Saturday, 47, won his first game but oversaw a brutal stretch in the weeks that followed. The Colts lost their final seven games and blew an NFL-record 33-point lead during that stretch. While Irsay’s unorthodox choice appeared to backfire, the owner bypassed advice against hiring Saturday in November and is believed to be receiving similar counsel now. Will the Irsay-Saturday partnership somehow continue? The 1-7 record aside, he has consistently been mentioned as a live candidate. With the Panthers passing on Steve Wilks, no interim HC has been promoted in six years.

Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this situation in the comments section.

Jim Irsay Still Pushing For Jeff Saturday Hire; Eric Bieniemy, Raheem Morris In Mix

The Colts lost seven of their final eight games, finishing 4-12-1. The team had not lost seven games to close out a campaign since its inaugural season in 1953. But Jim Irsay still looks to be pushing to keep Jeff Saturday, the interim head coach he stunned the NFL by hiring in November.

Saturday is going through his second interview Wednesday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, who adds as many as seven candidates will advance to the second round of interviews (Twitter link). That list includes Ejiro Evero, and ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano tweets Rams DC Raheem Morris will receive an in-person meeting. The Colts held virtual interviews with 13 candidates — the most of any HC-seeking team this year — but Irsay was not involved in those sessions. He will be there for the second interviews.

Irsay said in November he hoped Saturday would stay on as a full-time HC, and although no team has made an interim coach a full-time hire since the Jaguars removed Doug Marrone‘s interim tag in 2017, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson notes Irsay is still pushing for Saturday. More pushback has emerged, however. Just as Irsay confidants attempted to dissuade him from hiring Saturday two months ago, Anderson adds (via Twitter) those close to the owner are again attempting to convince him Saturday is the wrong choice.

Indianapolis should also be expected to meet with Eric Bieniemy and special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone for a second time. Each remains in the mix, Graziano adds, though no second interviews with either have been scheduled. Bieniemy has generated extensive OC interest around the league, being connected to open jobs and likely on the radar for some that will soon be available, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes the longtime Chiefs OC is focused on potential HC gigs. Only the Colts, however, have interviewed him for their job.

Some around the league believe this will come down to Bieniemy or Saturday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk adds. Considering the backlash both the Saturday hire and Bieniemy’s extended time on the HC carousel have each generated, the Colts choosing Saturday in that instance would create more controversy.

Andy Reid has been the Chiefs’ primary play-caller since 2013, and while Bieniemy has been labeled as a poor interviewer at points during his long run as Reid’s right-hand man, the fifth-year OC has been in place in this role throughout Patrick Mahomes‘ QB1 stay. Considering Mahomes is about to win a second MVP award and will do so after the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill, that should reflect well on Bieniemy. Judging by the Arizona, Carolina, Denver and Houston searches, however, teams are not closely connecting the Reid lieutenant to such success. Bieniemy and Colts GM Chris Ballard worked together during the latter’s time in the Chiefs’ front office, though Fowler adds the Saturday-Irsay relationship continues to loom over this process.

Ballard ran the first set of Colts HC interviews, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes, adding that Carlie Irsay-Gordon (Jim’s daughter) has played a key role throughout this process as well. Ballard attempted to talk Irsay out of the Saturday hire in November and admitted as much this month. It should be expected the seventh-year GM will keep pushing for a different hire, but Irsay obviously will make the final call. This process should drag into next week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (video link).

Saturday promised extensive changes if he were to land the full-time job. He offered ex-Frank Reich staffers Scott Milanovich and Scottie Montgomery OC duties, but each turned down the job. That led to assistant quarterbacks coach Parks Frazier receiving the opportunity. The Colts started three QBs during Saturday’s stay (Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, Sam Ehlinger) but only won one game under interim coach. The team’s NFL-record collapse in Minnesota and other shaky performances did not exactly give Saturday momentum coming out of the season. If Irsay bucks staffers’ advice and goes in this direction again, it would make for one of the most interesting decisions in coaching history.

Coaching Notes: Turner, Colts, Cards, Flores

In addition to the previously reported player gripes about the state of the Commanders‘ offense, John Keim of ESPN.com notes others in the organization expressed frustration about the inconsistencies within the team’s offensive philosophy. Washington fired three-year OC Scott Turner on Tuesday, despite having signed him to a three-year extension, and signs point to the team making a more concerted effort to focus on its run game. Ron Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew expressed a desire to run more, even after the Commanders ranked fourth in rushing attempts (538). But Keim adds a litany of complaints surfaced about the nature of the offense — from the team deviating from effective plays to Turner’s scheme being difficult for quarterbacks to digest. Concern about the offense emanated inside the building throughout the year, per Keim, who adds Rivera sat in on offensive meetings at points amid the unrest.

The Commanders’ issues at quarterback and on their O-line, a unit full of veterans, hamstrung Turner’s unit. So did injuries, as the team planned to have Brian Robinson play a major role from the start. The two gunshot wounds he sustained in August derailed those plans, and Carson Wentz barely ended up playing with the third-round rookie this season. While outside candidates will be interviewed, Keim adds the Commanders generally like their offensive scheme. QBs coach Ken Zampese, a second-generation NFL assistant who was previously the Bengals’ OC, will likely be an in-house candidate.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • The Cardinals fired Kliff Kingsbury after four seasons and did so less than a year after signing him to an extension that ran through 2027. While Kingsbury firing rumors had been brewing for months, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson notes (via Twitter) the young HC did not appear to be expecting it. When a “surprised and distraught” Kingsbury addressed his staffers, he mentioned some of them could be retained. One of them might be DC Vance Joseph, who has been connected to a possible promotion. The former Broncos HC served as Kingsbury’s DC throughout his four-year tenure.
  • One of Frank Reich‘s Colts staffers earned an interview for the team’s HC vacancy. Special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone met with Jim Irsay and Co. about the position Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Ventrone, 40, broke into coaching after 10 NFL seasons as a player. After spending time on Bill Belichick‘s staff, Ventrone joined Reich’s staff in 2018 and has been in position as Indy’s ST coordinator since. This is his first interview for a head coaching gig. The Colts can interview their own staffers, unattached coaches and Eagles or Chiefs staffers this week but must wait until midway through next week to begin meeting with candidates from teams playing on wild-card weekend.
  • Although Brandon Staley guided the Chargers to the playoffs, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com does not get the sense the second-year HC’s job is 100% safe. A loss to the Jaguars may prompt Chargers ownership to change course. Sean Payton lurking may well affect Staley’s standing, should the Jags prevail. The Bolts job came up several months ago for Payton, who already lives in Los Angeles, and this potential partnership has been a poorly kept secret in NFL circles.
  • Brian Flores will interview for the Browns‘ DC job Thursday, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets, though the Steelers linebackers coach is believed to have other teams interested. Flores’ discrimination lawsuit is ongoing, but the former Dolphins HC just wrapped a season on Mike Tomlin‘s staff. The Browns are also interviewing Jim Schwartz and Sean Desai, with a Jerod Mayo request out there as well.
  • Two more Panthers assistants have left to join Matt Rhule at Nebraska. Rob Dvoracek and Garett McGuire have left the Panthers to become the Cornhuskers’ linebackers and wide receivers coaches, respectively, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Both were in low-level assistant roles with Carolina and each played for Rhule — Dvoracek at Temple, McGuire at Baylor. These exits follow Terrance Knighton‘s; Knighton departed the Panthers in-season.

Coaching Rumors: Jets, Cowboys, Giants

Josh McDaniels‘ decision to break his agreement to become the Colts’ next head coach could hypothetically push the NFL to change its hiring rules, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Currently, teams aren’t allowed to formally hire coaches who are still employed by playoff clubs, but that hadn’t been an impediment given that no presumptive head coach had backed out of a reported deal. Had McDaniels been able to be officially offered the Indianapolis job several weeks ago, the Colts may have been aware of his wariness at the time. The NFL discussed a possible hiring rule change in 2017, but tabled the discussion, per Florio.

Here’s more from the 2018 coaching carousel:

  • The Jets announced that Jeremy Bates, who was recently promoted to offensive coordinator, will also retain his role as the club’s quarterbacks coach. While Bates will have two jobs, he’ll be able to rely on the expertise of assistant quarterbacks coach Mick Lombardi and longtime NFL offensive coordinator — and new New York offensive line coach/run game coordinator — Rick Dennison. Bates & Co. will likely be working with at least one new signal-caller in 2018, although the Jets are open to re-signing veteran passer Josh McCown.
  • Former Patriots assistant Ray “Bubba” Ventrone will be hired as the Colts‘ new special teams coordinator, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Ventrone, who played for four NFL teams, had been a New England staffer since 2015, but this will be his first run as a coordinator. Indianapolis is also expected to hire ex-Lions defensive backs coach Alan Williams for the same role, per Marvez, while Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link) former Buccaneers assistant Dave Borgonzi will become the Colts’ next linebackers coach.
  • The Cowboys have finalized their 2017 coaching staff by hiring Doug Colman as their assistant special teams coach, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Colman spent the past four seasons in the same role for the cross-state Texans. He’s expected to be the last major hire on Jason Garrett‘s staff after Dallas promoted Keith O’Quinn to ST coordinator and hired Doug Nussmeier as tight ends coach.
  • Florida Atlantic University defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin is joining the NFL ranks, as he’s agreed to become the 49ers‘ pass rush specialist, according to Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated. Kiffin comes from a long line of NFL coaches, as he’s the brother of Lane Kiffin and the son of Monte Kiffin. In San Francisco, he’ll work with young defenders Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, and DeForest Buckner.
  • The Giants have announced new head coach Pat Shurmur‘s staff, and the new list of assistants contains several holdovers. Rob Leonard (assistant linebackers), Ryan Roeder (offensive assistant) and Bobby Blick (defensive assistant) will all stick around.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Revis, Tannehill, Pats

The Jets have been involved in “serious internal discussions” about the possibility of bringing back cornerback Darrelle Revis, with owner Woody Johnson very much involved in those talks, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. The Jets’ interest in Revis is hardly news, but the closer we get to March 9 without an agreement in place between the Patriots and the star cornerback, the more likely it is that he reaches the open market next week.

Let’s round up a few more items related to the Jets and their AFC East rivals….

  • While there have been rumblings in recent weeks suggesting the Jets could target C.J. Spiller in free agency, the team would like to bring back Bilal Powell and will make a “sincere effort” to re-sign him, writes Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. Cimini estimates that Powell will land a deal that averages between $1.5MM and $2MM per year.
  • Brian Costello of the New York Post examines how new Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan will approach the team’s hole at cornerback this offseason.
  • Former Packers wide receiver Kevin Dorsey, who recently visited the Patriots, is working out for the Jets today, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Visits with the 49ers and Chiefs are next up on Dorsey’s schedule.
  • Ryan Tannehill said today that he has yet to sit down with the Dolphins to discuss a contract extension, tweets Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. There’s no real rush for the Fins to get anything done, since Tannehill has one more year left on his rookie contract, and the club holds a team option for the 2016 season.
  • As Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com details, Patriots safety Devin McCourty spoke to ESPN’s Josina Anderson yesterday after the team announced that it was franchising kicker Stephen Gostkowski, rather than McCourty. The veteran safety didn’t say anything too noteworthy in addressing his contract situation, but acknowledged that not being tagged made it more “realistic” that he could end up somewhere besides New England.
  • The Patriots hired former 49ers special-teamer Bubba Ventrone today as an assistant special teams coach, as first reported by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (via Twitter). Ventrone, who began his NFL career with the Pats, is just 28 years old, so the move from playing to coaching is a little surprising, but he hadn’t been under contract for the 2015 season.

49ers Place Boone, Ventrone On IR

5:18pm: Boone has a torn meniscus and will require surgery, tweets Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

1:52pm: The 49ers have placed Alex Boone and Bubba Ventrone on IR, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter). Filling their spots will be wide receiver Trindon Holliday and cornerback Cameron Fuller, who have been signed to the 53-man roster.

Boone’s knee injury is not considered to be serious, reports Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter). The team placed him on injured reserve only to open up a roster spot for the final game of the season.

Boone had reworked his contract after an extended holdout this past offseason, that resulted in language in his contract that precluded the team from using the franchise tag on him when he is set to become a free agent at the end of next year. Assuming Maiocco is correct in his assessment of the injury, it should not affect his ability to be on the field in 2015.

Ventrone is a special teams ace who has played with four teams since coming into the NFL in 2005. He is set to be a free agent this offseason.