49ers pioneering assistant Katie Sowers won't return in 2021: reports
34-year-old reportedly looking for expanded role with different team
Offensive assistant Katie Sowers, the first female coach to make it to the Super Bowl, will not be returning to the San Francisco 49ers in 2021.
The Bay Area News Group first reported Sowers' departure and said she is looking for an expanded role on another team.
Sowers posted a message on Instagram on Thursday, writing: "I think it's important to understand that the path you were meant to take is more often than not ... the path that was least expected ... but that is the beauty in your story and YOU will always control the narrative."
Sowers generated a big following after becoming the second woman to work as a full-time assistant coach in the NFL, following Kathryn Smith, who was a special teams assistant in Buffalo in 2016. Sowers was also the first openly gay coach in the NFL.
She was part of San Francisco's staff that went to the Super Bowl last season and was featured in a prominent Microsoft commercial thanking her for knocking down doors for other women.
Sowers, who played in the Women's Football Alliance and for USA Football's national team, got her start in the NFL in 2016 with Atlanta through the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship when Shanahan was offensive co-ordinator for the Falcons.
She followed Shanahan to San Francisco the following season and was hired as a full-time assistant in 2018, working extensively with the team's wide receivers.