Here are some highlights of what transcript of Ken Norton, Jr.’s interview with local reporters after it was announced today he was leaving the Seahawks and becoming Oakland’s defensive coordinator:
Q: What can you tell us about how this all came together?
Coach Norton, Jr.: “Well, [Head Coach] Jack [Del Rio] and I are old friends. We’re old teammates from the early Dallas Cowboys days and we’ve certainly kept in contact over the years. I’ve been watching his career and obviously he’s been watching my career. We’ve always talked about being able to put my time and energy and knowledge together as well as his and really come together and make a winner.”
Q: Have you guys talked about how involved Coach Del Rio will be with the defense?
Coach Norton, Jr.: “There’s no question that any time you have a defensive head coach, he’s always going to be involved. I’ve had that with all my years with [Seahawks Head Coach] Pete Carroll. He’s certainly going to be involved, very informed, kind of leading the way. There’s no question about that, certainly with Pete Carroll being my mentor and Jack Del Rio, a guy that we grew up and played together and we kind of grew up in the same type of ideas on how to attack offenses and how to protect yourself on defense. I have certain ideas that I have that I know that work. He has certain ideas that he has that he knows that work. We’re going to bring them together and obviously make them the Raider way.”
Q: Have you been looking forward to being a coordinator for a while?
Coach Norton, Jr.: “No question. One thing, I can really take my hat off to Pete Carroll. 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. He’s always been preparing us for the next step.”
Q: Is the style of defense that you had in Seattle the kind of style you want to have in Oakland?
Coach Norton, Jr.: “No question. We’ve had a lot of success. You watch our defenses over the last few years, how physical, how smart, how dominant they’ve been up front, out-hitting, out-hustling and doing all these aggressive things. Jack has a fantastic background with his defense as well. My philosophy combined with his philosophy, we’re going to sit down in a room and just work it out and then make it the Raiders philosophy.”
Q: Was this something that you knew going into Super Bowl week or did it come up right after?
Coach Norton, Jr.: “I don’t know if we’ve discussed it over time, I think, like I said before, on the Pete Carroll staff he’s always been grooming us and getting us ready for the next step and becoming a coordinator. There were a lot of jobs that were up, even our guy [former Seahawks defensive coordinator and current Atlanta Falcons Head Coach] Dan Quinn was up and we weren’t able to go with him. But, at the same time, Jack being a dear friend like he has been and us really watching each other’s careers and maybe someday working together. When this opportunity came up, there was no question that we wanted to have conversations and see what exactly we could make work with this.”
Q: When did you come down here and formally interview? Was it quick process from that point?
Coach Norton, Jr.: “I came down the day after the Super Bowl. I was really interested in just understanding what Coach Del Rio’s plan was, what his idea was, the things he wanted to get done here in Oakland. I was very impressed with how he laid it out for me. I was very impressed with what he wanted to get done. He made it quite clear that I was someone that he needed to help him get this whole program to another level.”
Q: Were you still under contract in Seattle?
Coach Norton, Jr.: “My contract was not up. I had to go in and have some discussions with Pete Carroll about giving me the opportunity… He had to give me permission because I was under contract to get me down here and just discuss with Coach Del Rio and the Raiders about the possibility of filling their defensive coordinator position.”