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49ers add former Raiders d-coordinator to staff

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Ken Norton Jr. was relieved of his duties as defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders in November. (Courtesy T.C. Perkins Jr./Travis AFB/Flickr)

As defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders, Ken Norton Jr. oversaw some good times (Khalil Mack’s 2016 season, when he won Defensive Player of the Year) and the bad (he was dismissed in November).

His job search ended Monday, when the 49ers announced he’ll be their assistant head coach – defense/inside linebackers.

“Ken brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to our team having spent more than two decades as a NFL player and coach,” said Head Coach Kyle Shanahan. “Throughout his coaching career, Ken has developed a tremendous understanding of our defensive system, making him a perfect fit for our staff. With four Super Bowl titles on his resume, including one as a 49er, Ken knows firsthand what it takes to become a championship caliber team.”

Before taking over the defense in Oakland, Norton Jr. was the linebackers coach for the Seattle Seahawks from 2010 to 2014. He was a longtime Pete Carroll assistant, serving in several roles (defensive assistant/linebackers coach, linebackers coach and assistant head coach defense/linebackers coach) at the University of Southern California.

He played 13 seasons in the NFL before continuing his career as a coach. He spent seven years as a member of the 49ers. While in San Francisco, He was a First-Team All-Pro in 1995 in addition to being on the Super Bowl XXIX-winning team which wrapped up the 1994-95 season.

Also Monday, the Niners announced Johnny Holland (formerly the linebackers coach) is now the run game specialist/outside linebackers coach and Michael Clay is shifting to assistant special teams coach after being an assistant strength & conditioning coach.


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