FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have hired former Chicago Bears assistant Michael Pitre as running backs coach.

The Falcons on Monday announced the hiring of Pitre, who coached the Bears' running backs in 2021. He replaces Desmond Kitchings, who left the Falcons with one game remaining in Atlanta's 7-10 season to become Virginia's offensive coordinator.

Falcons coach Arthur Smith used a committee approach to coach the running backs for the final game of the season.

Pitre will be asked to help bring improvement to an Atlanta running game that ranked next-to-last in the NFL with its average of 85.4 yards per game.

In one season with Pitre, the Bears ranked 14th in the league with their average of 118.7 rushing yards per game. The Bears had 13 carries of 20 or more yards to tie for seventh in the league.

Pitre, 37, was Oregon State's running backs coach recruiting coordinator from 2018-20. He coached running backs at Montana State from 2014-17. He was a graduate assistant at Colorado from 2012-13.

Pitre was a fullback at UCLA from 2003-07, including three seasons as a starter.


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