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Ken Norton Jr. named Seahawks defensive coordinator

Ken Norton Jr. is reuniting with Pete Carroll.

With Kris Richard on his way out of Seattle, Norton is returning to the Seahawks as the team’s defensive coordinator, the team announced Tuesday. Norton served as the team’s linebackers coach from 2010-2014 before leaving to become Oakland’s defensive coordinator in 2015.

Norton has history with Carroll that stretches beyond the NFL. The former linebacker served as linebackers coach under Carroll at USC from 2004-2009 before leaving with Carroll for Seattle in 2010. The assistant rode the wave caused by Seattle’s defensive success to his defensive coordinator position with the Raiders, but after a second-straight disappointing season — even in Oakland’s 12-4 2016 campaign, the team finished 26th in yards allowed per game — he found himself on the way out alongside fired head coach Jack Del Rio.

Norton is returning to a familiar boss in a familiar place with a defense that is built to continue its upper-third play in 2018. That same unit retains proven personnel playing in a scheme Norton knows quite well, making this an ideal move for the coach who had to know this was a possibility all along, considering the reported terms of his contract.

It’s not going to hurt him for sure. He will learn from it, Reid said of the rookie, via ArrowheadPride.com. Every snap that he gets is a valuable snap for him whenever he has that chance of getting in there.

Reid added that Mahomes would get the first-team snaps in practice this week with Alex Smith leading the scout team. The veteran coach added he’d use the final game of the 2017 season to rest key starters and get other younger players besides Mahomes reps.

Reid said he’s not worried about the move to play Mahomes in the finale rankling Smith heading into the postseason.

Fortunately we have a quarterback who understands it, Reid said of Smith, per the Kansas City Star. He’s having an MVP caliber year.

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