Former Dolphins aides join Packers

Jim Bates will be surrounded by some familiar colleagues when he steps on the field as defensive coordinator. The Green Bay Packers on Tuesday evening announced the hiring of Bob Sanders and Robert Nunn.

Sanders coached the linebackers in Miami while Nunn mainly led the defensive line. Packers coach Mike Sherman, however, said their roles in Green Bay would be determined once the rest of the defensive coaching staff is in place.

Sanders has been a rumored addition to the Packers' staff since Bates, Miami's acclaimed former defensive coordinator and interim head coach, was hired. This will be his 28th season as a coach; his fifth in the NFL. During his first four season, he coached the Miami linebackers under Bates. Before joining the Dolphins, Sanders was a defensive coach at the University of Florida from 1990-2000.

While at Florida, Sanders coached the defensive line and helped in the development of NFL star Jevon Kearse.

Nunn coached under Bates in Miami during the 2000-2002 and 2004 seasons. In 2000, Nunn was a defensive assistant and in 2001 and 2003, he held the title of assistant defensive line/quality control coach. In 2003, he was defensive line coach in Washington. Back in Miami last season, Nunn helped Bates in several areas.

Both coaches were available as part of a Miami shakeup that saw the Dolphins hire national championship college coach Nick Saban from LSU. Saban replaced Bates, who coached the final seven games on an interim basis after the resignation of Dave Wannstedt.

The hirings are just the latest in a whirlwind off-season for the Packers and their coaching staff, led by the dismissal of defensive coordinator Bob Slowik. Of last year's defensive assistants, line coach Jethro Franklin took the same post at the University of Southern California and defensive backs coach Kurt Schottenheimer was fired.

Still with the team is linebackers coach Mark Duffner and assistant defensive backs coach Lionel Washington.

Considering Sanders' success with Miami's linebackers — undersized Zach Thomas was named to the Pro Bowl following the 2001-03 seasons and Sanders would get to coach undersized Nick Barnett — it's a possibility Sanders will replace Duffner as linebackers coach and Duffner will be reassigned.

Nunn likely will coach the Packers' defensive line. He has intimate knowledge of Bates' scheme, which calls for the defensive ends to line up wide and charge upfield to make plays, a change from what they were expected to do under Slowik.

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