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Special teams coach Danny Smith to return in 2011

Special teams coach Danny Smith will return to the Redskins next season after turning down an offer to join new Denver Broncos coach John Fox’s staff, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation. ESPN980 first reported the news this morning.

Smith’s contract was not set to expire this offseason, according to the source. Multiple outlets reported this morning that Smith is expected to sign an extension with the Redskins.

Smith was a coveted commodity in the NFL last offseason as the Redskins’ coaching staff transitioned, but coach Mike Shanahan wanted Smith to stay.

The team’s performance on special teams in 2010 was good in some areas and poor in others. They ranked 10th and 14th, respectively, in the NFL in punt return average and kick return average–up from 30th and 24th in those same categories in 2009. Speedster Brandon Banks significantly boosted the return game in his rookie season.

Washington’s kickoff coverage ranked second in 2010, but its punt coverage unit ranked 29th in yards surrendered per return (12.6). The Redskins used four different punters during the season.

Smith first joined the Redskins in 2004 when Joe Gibbs returned to coach the team. His energetic and colorful style, as well as his prowess coaching special teams, has endeared him to his players. After NFL Network reported last Thursday that Smith could be targeted by Denver, several players, including Banks and lineman Phillip Daniels, used their Twitter accounts to lobby him to stay in D.C.

Look for Smith this offseason to continue his search for the elusive long-term solution at punter and his long-standing effort to establish consistency at placekicker.