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Report: Ken Norton Jr. Seahawks’ new defensive coordinator

In this May 5, 2017 file photo, Oakland defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. walks the practice field during rookie minicamp  at Raiders headquarters in Alameda, Calif. Norton Jr. reportedly will return to the Seahawks as DC. (D. Ross Cameron / AP)
In this May 5, 2017 file photo, Oakland defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. walks the practice field during rookie minicamp at Raiders headquarters in Alameda, Calif. Norton Jr. reportedly will return to the Seahawks as DC. (D. Ross Cameron / AP)
Seattle Times

The Seahawks are bringing back former assistant Ken Norton Jr. as defensive coordinator with Kris Richard apparently on his way out.

The news was first reported by Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network and then confirmed by the 49ers, who had hired Norton last week as assistant head coach-defense/inside linebackers.

“Last week, Ken was presented with an opportunity to once again coordinate a defense,” said a statement from 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. “Because of how we feel about Ken as a coach, we understand and respect his desire to pursue the position.”

Norton was with the Seahawks from 2010-14 as linebackers coach before leaving to become the defensive coordinator of the Raiders when the Seahawks chose Richard to replace Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator. Quinn left to become the head coach of the Falcons.

Norton was fired by the Raiders in November and then announced as hired last week by the 49ers.

But his San Francisco contract included an out allowing him to take a job as a coordinator.

The Seahawks had no confirmation of the move and also have yet to confirm that Richard will not return. It is thought that the team is hoping Richard will find another coaching job so as to avoid a firing.

Norton is the son of former heavyweight boxer Ken Norton and spent 13 years as a linebacker in the NFL with the Cowboys and the 49ers, winning three straight Super Bowl rings from 1992-94.

He spent all of his coaching career under Pete Carroll until the move to the Raiders in 2015. Norton began at USC in 2004 as a defensive assistant and then from 2005-08 as linebackers coach and 2009 as assistant head coach-defense/linebackers before coming to Seattle with Carroll in 2010.

He held the title of linebackers coach for all five years of his Seattle tenure before leaving for the Raiders in Feb., 2015.

While it was viewed that the Seahawks had chosen Richard instead of him to be defensive coordinator, Norton at the time offered only praise to Carroll.

“One thing, I can really take my hat off to Pete Carroll,’’ Norton said upon his hiring with the Raiders. “He’s really done a great job of when we’re there with him, he’s always preparing us to be coordinators, to be head coaches. He’s always having us look forward and do things that are important for us to continue our careers and keep improving ourselves.’’

Garafolo also reported that the Seahawks are hiring Mike Solari as offensive line coach to replace Tom Cable, which a source later confirmed to the Seattle Times.

Lane arrested: Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane has been arrested on investigation of driving under the influence. King County Jail records show Lane was booked at 5:30 a.m. Sunday, then released four hours later on his own recognizance after posting $1,000 bail.

The Seahawks say they are aware of the arrest but had no further comment. Lane responded to the arrest with some tweets that were later deleted.

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