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Niners interview former Bills assistant April for special teams job

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary has interviewed Bobby April for the team's vacant special teams coordinator job.

The 49ers say Singletary met with April, a respected special teams coach most recently with the Buffalo Bills, on Tuesday in Orlando. That's after Singletary interviewed veteran coach Larry Mac Duff for the spot last week.

April was fired by the Bills on Jan. 4, one day after the regular season ended. April, 56, said afterward that he opted out of the final two years of his contract because he doesn't expect to be part of the team's plans once it hires a new head coach.

April joined the Bills in 2004 after a three-year stint with the St. Louis Rams, and he was one of the few Bills assistants retained when former coach Dick Jauron took over in 2006. April completed his 18th season in the NFL after breaking into the league as a tight ends/special teams coach with the Atlanta Falcons in 1991.

April had the out clause written into his contract after the 2008 season, when speculation about Jauron's future was being raised. April said he wanted to keep his options open if Jauron was fired.

April was credited for overseeing a golden era for Bills special teams. Led by punter Brian Moorman, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, the unit finished first three times in the annual end-of-season Dallas Morning News rankings, which are regarded as the standard by the NFL.

Last week, the 49ers declined to renew the contract of Al Everest, who took over the job from Mac Duff in 2007. Upgrading the return game is among Singletary's offseason priorities after the team struggled in that area all season. The unit was last in the NFL in average punt-return yardage, and the team finished 8-8, missing the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.

Mac Duff, 61, spent four seasons as San Francisco's special teams coordinator from 2003 to 2006 and then went from the 49ers to co-defensive coordinator at Texas for one season in 2007. He most recently was defensive coordinator and special teams coach for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.

The 49ers began the season 3-1 and were talking about the playoffs, but they lost four in a row and five of six to greatly diminish their chances. They also dropped six consecutive road games, five in a row by a combined 19 points, before winning their season finale at St. Louis 28-6.

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