Ken Norton Jr. is close to reuniting with Pete Carroll.
With Kris Richard likely on the way out of Seattle, Norton is expected to return to the Seahawks as the team’s defensive coordinator, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported. Norton served as the team’s linebackers coach from 2010-2014 before leaving to become Oakland’s defensive coordinator in 2015.
Fans of the San Francisco 49ers might jump out of their seats and say “wait, but he just joined our staff!” That’s correct — Norton’s hiring as assistant head coach on Kyle Shanahan’s staff was announced Jan. 8 — but Norton has an out in his contract that allows him to take the Seattle defensive coordinator job, Garafolo reported.
The 49ers released a statement acknowledging Norton’s consideration of external opportunities.
“Last week, Ken was presented with an opportunity to once again coordinate a defense,” Shanahan said. “Because of how we feel about Ken as a coach, we understand and respect his desire to pursue the position.”
Norton has history with Carroll that stretches beyond the NFL. The former linebacker served as linebackers coach under Carroll at USC from 2004-2009 before leaving with Carroll for Seattle in 2010. The assistant rode the wave caused by Seattle’s defensive success to his defensive coordinator position with the Raiders, but after a second-straight disappointing season — even in Oakland’s 12-4 2016 campaign, the team finished 26th in yards allowed per game — he found himself on the way out alongside fired head coach Jack Del Rio. NFL.com
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