There are two strange parts to the story that Ken Norton Jr. is the Seattle Seahawks’ new defensive coordinator.
First, Norton accepted a job with the San Francisco 49ers just last week. And, the Seahawks already have a defensive coordinator.
The Seahawks obviously weren’t worried about those obstacles, because multiple reports (including Alex Rozier of KING-TV in Seattle) on Monday said Norton will be Seattle’s new defensive coordinator. Norton was hired just a week ago by the 49ers, a team he starred for at linebacker, to be their assistant head coach. But in a statement, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said the team wasn’t going to stop Norton from an opportunity to be a coordinator again, even though that opportunity does come from a division rival.
Statement from #49ers coach Kyle Shanahan on Ken Norton Jr.:
"Last week, Ken was presented with an opportunity to once again coordinate a defense. Because of how we feel about Ken as a coach, we understand and respect his desire to pursue the position.”
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) January 15, 2018
The Kris Richard part of the story is a little trickier. There were reports earlier this month that Richard, who has been Seattle’s defensive coordinator the past three seasons and was still listed as the team’s coordinator on its website as of Monday afternoon, would be allowed to pursue other opportunities. The writing was on the wall already. Hiring Norton to be defensive coordinator would indicate Richard is out of that role.
This means the Seahawks are turning over the offensive and defensive coordinator jobs. It’s a major move for coach Pete Carroll, who clearly wasn’t happy that his team went 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Norton was with the Seahawks from 2010-14, as the teams linebackers coach. He was fired during this season by the Oakland Raiders, where he was defensive coordinator. But Norton is respected by players and has a positive history with the Seahawks.
It seemed a week ago like the Seahawks would see Norton twice a season, when they played the 49ers. That changed pretty quickly.
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