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Niners block New Orleans Saints' effort to interview Ed Donatell

The New Orleans Saints contacted the San Francisco 49ers in an attempt to interview secondary coach Ed Donatell for their vacant defensive coordinator position, according to a source with knowledge of the Saints' plans. However, Donatell is under contract with the 49ers, and the team made the decision not to permit the interview.

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A person who has spoken with Donatell said while he'd like to be a coordinator eventually, he is "extremely happy" coaching on the 49ers' staff next season. He enjoys working under coordinator Vic Fangio and for coach Jim Harbaugh, so he holds no ill will toward the Niners. Donatell has lauded the 49ers' environment, and he hopes another year in the system will continue to make him a stronger candidate, the person said.

Donatell told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area last week before the Super Bowl that he believes the system is fair.

Donatell is a former Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator. He said he felt better equipped to run a defense now, even if he'll have to wait at least a year to do so.

"I'm far better than I ever was," Donatell told me during Super Bowl media day. Asked what kind of coach he would be as a coordinator, "I always think players and plays, so I'd have to examine the roster. I'm a 3-4 coach, but that doesn't mean you can't have 4-3 principles. I'd say I'm a melting pot of (49ers defensive coordinator) Vic Fangio and (Falcons defensive coordinator) Mike Nolan."

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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