San Francisco 49ers

DeMeco Ryans takes job 49ers originally gave to Ken Norton Jr.

Houston Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans rests during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, in Cincinnati.
Houston Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans rests during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, in Cincinnati.

Longtime linebacker DeMeco Ryans has been promoted to the role Ken Norton Jr. had for less than a week with the 49ers in January.

Ryans will coach inside linebackers, including prominent pupil Reuben Foster, in 2018. Johnny Holland, the team's linebackers coach in 2017, has a new title: run game coordinator and outside linebackers coach.

The 49ers originally hired Norton, the former Raiders defensive coordinator, to be their inside linebackers coach. Less than a week after that announcement was made, however, the Seahawks asked Norton to be their defensive coordinator, and he accepted the offer.

Ryans, 33, is one of several San Francisco coaches with ties to the Houston Texans. He played inside linebacker there for six seasons and was named the Associated Press' Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006. His playing career ended in 2015 and the 49ers hired him as a defensive quality control coach, an entry-level position, last season.

"It probably accelerated DeMeco's rise," general manager John Lynch said of Norton's decision to go to Seattle. "But, hey, Kyle (Shanahan) and I talked about it and he's more than ready. We're excited about it."

The 49ers made other changes as well.

Another one-time linebacker, Keena Turner, will join the team's front office as special adviser to the general manager. Turner, 59, has been with the 49ers for more than three decades, first as a linebacker for 11 seasons, and most recently as vice president of football affairs, a position in which Turner was actively involved in the team's alumni program and in player engagement .

Last year, for instance, Turner and team pastor Earl Smith spent two days with Foster in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after the 49ers began to zero in on the linebacker during the draft. They ended up using a first-round draft choice, No. 31 overall, to take him.

The 49ers also announced they hired Austin Moss as director of player engagement and promoted Ethan Waugh to director of college scouting.

  Comments