Reports: Seahawks adding Ken Norton Jr, Mike Solari to coaching staff

Seattle Seahawks Practice

RENTON -- The Seahawks have reportedly made a pair of additions to their coaching staff following last week's shake up.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Seahawks are hiring Ken Norton Jr. as the team's defensive coordinator and Mike Solari as the new offensive line coach.

Alex Rozier of KING 5 spoke with Norton's wife, who confirmed Norton signed a three-year deal to serve as the team's new defensive coordinator. Matt Maiocco of NBC Bay Area confirmed the move with San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan as well. Shanahan had hired Norton as an assistant coach last week but let him take the job with Seattle.

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

Both Norton and Solari have coached in Seattle before. Norton was Seattle's linebackers coach for five seasons under head coach Pete Carroll before leaving to become defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders under Jack Del Rio in 2015. Solari coached with Mike Holmgren in his final year as head coach in 2008 and Jim Mora in his only year as head coach in 2009.

The signing of Norton is curious for several reasons. They still haven't announced any decisions regarding Kris Richard's status with the team, though KJR's Dave "Softy" Mahler reported last week Richard was not expected to remain as defensive coordinator. It's also interesting in that Carroll made the decision to hire Richard as defensive coordinator following Dan Quinn's departure following the 2014 season when Norton could have been promoted just as easily. Now Carroll is bringing back a long-time assistant in Norton, who spent 11 total years with Carroll split between the Seahawks and USC before leaving for the Raiders job.

Solari replaces Tom Cable as the team's offensive line coach. Cable was fired by the Seahawks last week along with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

Solari has spent all but two years coaching in the NFL since taking his first job with the Dallas Cowboys in 1987. He was an offensive line coach with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1997-2005 and offensive coordinator of the Chiefs in 2006-07. During that time, the Chiefs had some prolific offenses with Rich Gannon, Elvis Grbac an Trent Green and quarterback, and Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson at running back. Kansas City led the league in either points or yards in four consecutive seasons (2002-05).

Solari's first two season in Kansas City were under head coach Marty Schottenheimer. The Seahawks have reportedly hired Marty's son, Brian, to serve as their new offensive coordinator.

After his first stint in Seattle, Solari joined the 49ers as their offensive line coach and helped build another formidable rushing attack with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Colin Kaepernick.

Carroll clearly wants to get Seattle's rushing attack back up to par. Solari has helped cultivate some strong rushing attacks in his career and will be charged with getting the ground game back in shape. 

Solari has spent the last two seasons as the offensive line coach of the New York Giants.


Photo Credit: TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 29: Linebacker coach Ken Norton Jr. of the Seattle Seahawks looks on during a practice at Arizona State University on January 29, 2015 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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