Aubrayo Franklin Returns to 49ers as Assistant Coach

A breakdown of the 49ers 2015 coaching staff in photos.

After four strong seasons as a nose tackle with the San Francisco 49ers from 2007 to '10, Aubrayo Franklin left the Bay Area via free agency and finished his career with one-year stints in New Orleans, San Diego and Indianapolis.

But now that his playing days are behind him, Franklin has returned to San Francisco under a new title: coach.

The 49ers announced Franklin as a defensive assistant on Monday, giving the 11-year NFL veteran his first job in the coaching ranks.

Here are a few things to know about the hire.

Chemistry with 'Sula

While playing for the 49ers, Franklin's position coach was none other than his new boss, Jim Tomsula.

Franklin experienced his most productive season as a player stat-wise under Tomsula in 2009, when he tallied 36 tackles, three pass deflections, two sacks and one interception.

Below is a photo of Tomsula (center) coaching Franklin (number 92) through a drill in practice.

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Willis Approved

In 2011, Joe Staley shared a story with Eric Branch of the *San Francisco Chronicle *that showed how smart Franklin was as a player. That football IQ, obviously, will translate well into his new line of work teaching the next generation.

"Most of the time, defensive linemen, they wait for their linebacker to make a check or make a call, and I'll never forget the time I didn't make a call and I remember Franklin just did it," Willis said. "And I played off it, and we ended up making a stop. We came off to the sideline, and he said to me, 'Patrick, just listen to me… I got you. Just listen to me, I'm going to carry you. I got you.'"

Praise from 'Cowboy'

Like Willis, Justin Smith respected the way that Franklin played the game. The two lined up next to each other for three seasons in San Francisco.

"Best nose guard in the league," Smith said in 2009. "Tape don't lie. When I say he's the best nose guard in the league, he's the best nose guard in the league."

Perhaps Franklin's hiring will help persuade Smith into returning for a 15th NFL season.

Up Close

In December 2008, 49ers Studios – or Faithful Productions as it was called then – sat down for a 1-on-1 interview of Franklin.

Learn more about Tomsula's former pupil and new assistant coach with this throwback video.

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