Ken Norton Jr. has been given his walking papers by the Seattle Seahawks. The 55-year-old was relieved of his duties this week as the team's defensive coordinator, the club announced, along with defensive passing game coordinator Andre Curtis suffering the same fate. Norton is a long-familiar face for head coach Pete Carroll, having previously served as Seahawks linebackers coach under Carroll from 2010 through 2014, before landing a promotion as defensive coordinator of the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders in 2015.
He'd rejoin the Seahawks as Carroll's defensive coordinator in 2018, and though he suffered some exceedingly lean stretches, the club improved year-over-year in points allowed per game since 2019 -- from 25.3 (22nd) to 23.2 (15th) to 21.5 (11th), respectively -- including showing a marked improvement over the course of the 2021 season after his defensive unit initially became an albatross that torpedoed heroic efforts by quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson wasn't the same when he returned from his finger injury, though, and the Seahawks season went into a tailspin from there, ending with a disappointing 7-10 record, lack of a playoff berth and a fourth-place finish in the NFC West. Norton leaves Seattle having been key in the development of players like K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner, along with others, while Curtis parts ways having spent the last seven seasons with the Seahawks, initially joining them in 2015 as assistant secondary Coach/safeties before being promoted to defensive backs coach in 2017 and then again the following year.
It'll be intriguing to see where Norton, a former All-Pro linebacker who spent time with both the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers, lands next, but even more so to see who the Seahawks replace him with as they also try to sift through another offseason of rumors regarding Wilson.