49ers hire Norton as defensive assistant, linebacker coach

The 49ers announced Monday that Ken Norton Jr. has been named an assistant coach.

Joining Norton, San Francisco has promoted Johnny Holland and Michael Clay, who will enter the 2018 season as a run specialist/outside linebackers coach and special teams assistant respectively.

According to the team, Norton will take on the duties of a defensive assistant as well as handling the inside line backing unit.

Norton, who spent the last two seasons (2015-17) in Oakland as the Raiders defensive coordinator will come into San Francisco tasked with helping to improve the league’s 24th ranked defense. Over the course of the 2017 regular season, the 49ers were 24th in yards allowed per game (351.6) and 25th in points per game (23.9).

Beyond his time spent in Oakland, Norton accumulated five additional five years of experience as a linebackers coach in Seattle. There, the former 49er linebacker assisted in reaching back-to-back Super Bowls, yielding a championship ring in Super Bowl XLVIII. It is also important to note that Norton coached Malcolm Smith who was named the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII and currently under contract with the 49ers.

Norton’s history of Super Bowl success doesn’t stop there, though. Over the course of his 13-year playing career, Norton won three consecutive championships between 1992-94 with the Dallas Cowboys (1992-93) and the 49ers (1994). According to the 49ers, Norton is the only player in NFL history to play on three consecutive Super Bowl-winning teams.

With four Super Bowl rings under his belt, along with the ability to produce Defensive Player of the year-caliber players, Norton looks to bring an edge to the re-building yet improving 49ers defense.

As Smith has his eyes set on returning from a torn pectoral muscle suffered in the 2017 preseason Norton will also be met with the luxury of having rookie-stud Reuben Foster on the roster. Foster, who battle injury throughout his rookie season, will surely be looking to follow up his rookie campaign with a staggering sophomore season. Having Norton as an assistant will likely help him along that path.