It’s been 24 hours since the Raiders announced they had fired Ken Norton Jr. In that time a few of his former linebackers have come to his defense, and in the process have been calling out Jack Del Rio.
The first to publicly voice his displeasure was Bruce Irvin, who worked with Norton both in Seattle and in Oakland. He is understandably not happy. He followed Norton from Seattle to Oakland and credits much of his NFL success to Norton.
He can’t really expand to the point of calling out Del Rio or any other Raiders coach under whom he must continue to play at least the remainder of this season. So his reaction was short and to the point, saying simply “BULLSHIT”.
BULLSHIT— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) November 21, 2017
Other linebackers who do not still play under Del Rio were less withholding of their opinions.
Today, former longtime NFL receiver Steve Smith Sr had something to say about Norton’s firing. Smith spoke like he had some inside info to suggest that the defense the Raiders run is actually Del Rio’s defense, not Norton’s. He also pointed to the players the team has drafted as being the issue.
let that truth out!!!— Malcolm Smith (@MalcSmitty) November 22, 2017
Former Raiders linebacker, Malcolm Smith, now with the 49ers, noticed the tweet and seemed to confirm Smith’s account, saying “let the truth out!!!”
At that same moment, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, who played under Norton for his first three seasons, including his All Pro 2013 season, was clearly subtweeting Del Rio.
Don’t point fingers @ someone else when it could be you that’s the problem.— Bobby Wagner (@Bwagz54) November 22, 2017
Wagner said “Don’t point fingers @ someone else when it could be you that’s the problem.”
It’s not unusual for players to come out in support of one of their current or former coaches. It is somewhat unusual to so publicly come out against the head coach that fired him.