49ers hire Ken Norton Jr.


49ers hire Ken Norton Jr.

The 49ers on Monday announced Ken Norton Jr. has joined Kyle Shanahan's staff as assistant head coach - defense/inside linebackers.

Johnny Holland, the team's linebackers coach last season, will become the team’s run game specialist/outside linebackers coach. Michael Clay will become an assistant special teams coach after being assistant strength and conditioning coach last season.

“Ken brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to our team having spent more than two decades as a NFL player and coach,” Shanahan said in a statement. “Throughout his coaching career, Ken has developed a tremendous understanding of our defensive system, making him a perfect fit for our staff.

"With four Super Bowl titles on his resume, including one as a 49er, Ken knows firsthand what it takes to become a championship caliber team.”

Norton, 51, spent the past 2 1/2 seasons as defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders under then-coach Jack Del Rio until his firing this past season.

He played in the NFL for 13 seasons, including his final seven years with the 49ers from 1994-2000. He was on two Super Bowl-winning teams as an inside linebacker with the Dallas Cowboys before winning a Super Bowl in his first season after signing with the 49ers as a free agent in 1994.

Norton spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks as linebackers coach. He served three three seasons on Pete Carroll's staff with Robert Saleh, the 49ers' defensive coordinator. Saleh was the Seahawks' defensive quality control coach at the time. Norton and Saleh were on Seattle's team that won the Super Bowl in February 2014.

In his new role, Norton will be reconnected with weakside linebacker Malcolm Smith, who earned MVP honors in the Seahawks 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Smith spent last season on injured reserve with a torn pectoral but is expected to return as the starter. Norton will also work closely with Reuben Foster. The 49ers expect Foster to move to middle linebacker in his second NFL season.

Richard Sherman has message for Antonio Brown in his bid to join 49ers


Richard Sherman has message for Antonio Brown in his bid to join 49ers

Richard Sherman knows what it's like to leave the only franchise he's ever known to join the 49ers.

So, what does he think about Antonio Brown's desire to play in San Francisco?

"Good luck to him," Sherman told TMZ on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

The All-Pro receiver wants out of Pittsburgh and to come to the 49ers "really badly," according to Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II has said the team won't release Brown but will explore all other options, including a trade. Rooney also said he expects discussions regarding Brown's future to heat up in mid-March when the new league year begins.

Sherman, who signed a three-year, $27.15 million contract with the 49ers last March, was asked about his time in the Bay Area.

"So far, so good," Sherman told TMZ.

Before Sherman could get away, he was asked if he had a message for Brown.

"Go wherever it makes him happy," Sherman said.

49ers' George Kittle voted 2018 Most Improved Player of the Year by PFWA


49ers' George Kittle voted 2018 Most Improved Player of the Year by PFWA

George Kittle had an impressive 2018 season for the 49ers to the say the least.

Kittle was named the top tight end in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, and PFF even told NBC Sports Bay Area his season could be considered one of the all-time greats if data was around years ago to back it up.

Regardless, he will be known for breaking the NFL single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end, finishing his 2018 campaign with 1,377 yards.

Kittle can now add "Most Improved Player of the Year" to his list of accomplishments, as voted by the Pro Football Writers of America.

This is on top of being voted by the PFWA's All-NFC Team Tuesday and just about every other prestigious football honor one can receive.

[RELATED: Kittle asked media to hurry up to attend WWE event]

The best part is knowing Kittle is only 25 years old, and can surely still get better.

But for now, we should all relish in his growing list of impressive resume accomplishments.