CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers are bringing back Chase Blackburn as their special teams coordinator.
Blackburn spent the last two seasons in the same role under former head coach Ron Rivera, but was on an expiring contract.
Blackburn has some history with new Panthers coach Matt Rhule. They spent time together in 2012 with the Giants when Blackburn was a linebacker and Rhule worked as an assistant offensive line coach.
Blackburn returns despite a disappointing close to the season when the Panthers allowed Colts returner Nyheim Hines to return punts of 84 and 71 yards for touchdowns in Week 16. It marked just the 10th time since 1995 in which a team has returned two punts for touchdowns in the same game. Hines also had a 40-yard punt return to set up another score in that game.
"Overall, the process went very well," Blackburn told the team's website of the interview process. “... I really respected the way (Rhule) went about it. He took his time and wanted to make sure he got the right guys in.”
The 36-year-old Blackburn spent nine seasons in the NFL as a linebacker and special teams player, winning two Super Bowls with the Giants. He joined the Panthers as an assistant special teams coach in 2016 and was hired as the special teams coordinator in 2018.
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