Special-teamer Costanzo feels right at home

July, 31, 2012
7/31/12
3:29
PM ET
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears linebacker Blake Costanzo certainly appreciates his new team’s appreciation for special teams.

[+] EnlargeBlake Costanzo
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhBlake Costanzo appreciates the Bears' emphasis on special teams.
“If they didn’t, I wouldn’t have a job,” Costanzo said. “So it’s awesome to come here and have them put an emphasis on (special teams) and value it the way they do.”

Knowing they’d potentially lose Pro Bowl special-teams ace Corey Graham in free agency, the Bears targeted Costanzo, who was coming off a strong 2011 campaign with the San Francisco 49ers. In addition to the 17 stops made on special teams, Costanzo made four more in the playoffs, while playing a role (forced fumble and fumble recovery) in San Francisco’s victory over the New Orleans Saints.

Costanzo admits that at meetings “sometimes I really look over and I’m like, ‘That’s Brian Urlacher.’

Expected to provide depth at linebacker, Costanzo knows special teams is where he’ll make the most impact. A six-year veteran who has also spent time with the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, Costanzo ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in special-teams tackles in three of the past five seasons.

“We have a (special-teams) walkthrough before practice, and we also have a special-teams period in practice,” Costanzo said. “So it’s just a lot of time (spent practicing special teams) because it’s a third of the game. Coach (Lovie) Smith believes it can help us win some games. So we spend a lot of time on it, and that’s why they’ve had success with it.”

It’s also been how Costanzo has been able to stick in the NFL his entire career.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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