San Francisco 49ers

Welcome back: 49ers to sign special teamer Blake Costanzo

Blake Costanzo, a special teams standout who became a fan favorite in 2011, is back with the team after agreeing to a one-year deal, agent David Canter confirmed this morning. Costanzo left for Chicago as a free agent early in 2012 and the 49ers’ special teams coverage units dipped that season. They rebounded last year with a core of players that included Ray “Bubba” Ventrone, Kassim Osgood and C.J. Spillman.

The 49ers will release guard Al Netter, a member of their practice squad the last two years, to make room for Costanzo.

The charismatic Costanzo, 30, played for 49ers special teams coordinator Brad Seely in Cleveland before joining him in San Francisco in 2011 and leading the “Tony Montana squad,” the nickname given to the coverage units. Costanzo ended that season as the team’s top special teams player, leading the 49ers in solo tackles (10) and knock downs (27). He also led the Bears in special teams tackles last year. Chicago made no attempt to re-sign him this offseason.

Costanzo also plays inside linebacker, which already had the best competition of the offseason. Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody, rookies Chris Borland and Shayne Skov, and now Costanzo will compete to fill in for NaVorro Bowman while he recovers from an ACL tear.