Ken Norton Jr. Fired by Seahawks After 4 Seasons as Defensive Coordinator

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2022

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JANUARY 02: Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. of the Seattle Seahawks exits the field after the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Detroit Lions by a score of 51-29 at Lumen Field on January 02, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks were the only team from the NFC West that didn't make the playoffs this past season, and they are changing up the coaching staff as a result.

Seattle fired both defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and defensive passing-game coordinator Andre Curtis on Tuesday.

Bob Condotta and Adam Jude of the Seattle Times reported Monday night that the team was expected to part ways with the two coaches.

Norton was the defensive coordinator for the last four seasons, and the report pointed to Seahawks assistant head coach/defensive line coach Clint Hurtt and veteran assistant Ed Donatell as potential replacement candidates.

Norton played linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys from 1988 through 2000 and was a three-time Super Bowl champion and three-time Pro Bowler.

His coaching career includes time as the linebackers coach for his alma mater USC, two different stints with the Seahawks and three seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. He was the linebackers coach in Seattle from 2010 through 2014 when the team went to the playoffs four times and advanced to two Super Bowls, winning one.

While the Legion of Boom secondary made many of the headlines during that era, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright were excellent linebackers who helped that defense establish itself as one of the best in the league.

Norton did not have as much success as the defensive coordinator for the Raiders from 2015 until he was fired in November of the 2017 campaign, but he came back to Seattle as the defensive coordinator for the 2018 season.

He was unable to replicate his success as a linebackers coach, as the Seahawks finished 16th in the NFL in yards allowed per game in 2018, 26th in 2019, 22nd in 2020 and 28th in 2021 during his second tenure with the team.

Condotta and Jude noted the 379.1 yards per game the Seahawks allowed in 2021 is the second-worst mark in team history.

It reached a point where it was clear the defense would need a change to be competitive in such a daunting division in 2022, and that change cost the defensive coordinator his job.