BY SPNW Staff 12:37PM 02/06/2015

Norton exits Seahawks, becomes DC in Oakland

Ken Norton Jr., the new defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders, helped several Seattle linebackers, including Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, reach prominence.

After five years with the Seahawks, Ken Norton Jr., is moving to the Oakland Raiders. / Seattle Seahawks

The Oakland Raiders Friday named Ken Norton Jr., who has coached Seattle’s linebackers since 2010, as their defensive coordinator. Norton, who came to the Seahawks from USC with Pete Carroll, helped the club win three NFC West titles, two conference championships and Super Bowl XLVIII.

Oakland’s signing of Norton almost certainly means that Kris Richard, who has coached defensive backs under Carroll, will be elevated to defensive coordinator, replacing Dan Quinn, named earlier this week as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

Norton has a long history with new Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, who moved to the Bay Area from the Denver Broncos. They played linebacker alongside each other with the Dallas Cowboys from 1989-91.

Norton had considerable success with Seattle’s linebackers. In his first two seasons (2010-11), he helped David Hawthorne to back-to-back, 100-tackle seasons. He also oversaw the development of K.J. Wright when he emerged as a starter in 2011.

Norton Jr. helped second-round pick Bobby Wagner finish second in The Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2012 and become a Pro Bowler this past season. The son of the former heavyweight champion also aided in the development of Malcolm Smith, Most Valuable Player in last year’s Super Bowl.

Prior to joining the Seahawks, Norton spent six seasons at USC. He served as linebackers coach from 2005-08 and was elevated to assistant head coach of the linebackers/defense in 2009. During his time with the Trojans, Norton coached such linebackers as Brian Cushing of the Texans, Clay Matthews of the Packers, Keith Rivers of the Bills and former Seahawk Lofa Tatupu, all of whom became Pro Bowl players.

Norton played 13 seasons in the NFL, including his first six with the Cowboys and final seven with the San Francisco 49ers. Norton is the only player in NFL history to play on three consecutive Super Bowl winners, Dallas in 1992-93 and San Francisco in 1994.



  • RadioGuy

    First Quinn, now Norton. Just goes to show that teams who can’t take the Seahawks players away will go for the coaches…happens with any winning franchise. I’m guessing Norton saw the writing on the wall that Richard is getting Quinn’s DC job and decided to head back to the Bay Area as DC with an HC he once played alongside.
    They’ll be hard to replace, but both assistant departures are entirely understandable. Best of luck in their new gigs…to a point.

  • enscriptchun

    I wish him the best, but damn… sucks that our coaching staff keeps getting poached by other teams. I guess that’s the NFL, though.

  • jafabian

    I thought that Norton had a good chance at being named DC for the Hawks because he’s been at it longer than Richards. As much pub the LOB gets the LB’s are just as formidable IMO. Best wishes to him, he’s got his hands full going to a club with a problematic management and the worst defense in the league. I’m sure he’ll do fine.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    You go to the Superbowl~you lose people. Its just that simple. Norton will look good in silver and black. Its my childhood team. I wish him well. He himself said Pete does whatever he can to allow his coaches to advance to ultimately become a head coach someday. Ken Norton you were a huge asset while here.Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your contributions!!