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Ken Norton Jr Biography - By Bryan Hersh

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A tribute to the hardest hitting man in football: Ken Norton Jr.
Ken Norton Jr. came to the 49ers for the 1994-95 season after winning consecutive Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys. Norton won his third consecutive Super Bowl championship in his first season with the 49ers - becoming the only player to ever achieve such an accomplishment.  Norton was a leader both on and off the field, and will be remembered as one of the hardest hitting men in football.

Named after his father, the one time boxing Heavy Weight Champion of The World, Norton, trademarked punching the goal posts or the air after making good plays.  This tribute of sorts, is just one example of the class act that Ken was.

The word pain was not in Ken's vocabulary. He played his final season with the 49ers injured, and started every game. In so doing he extended his iron man streak to 160 games in a row. Ken's actions both on and off the field have contributed to him becoming one of the all-time great 49ers, who is destined for the Hall Of Fame shortly after he steps away from football.

Want to have your opinion of Ken Norton forever enshrined on 49ers Paradise? I am attempting to compile a page of fan's memories of Ken Norton Jr., please E-mail me your memories.

On September 29th 1966, boxer Ken Norton Sr. gave birth to a son in Lincoln, IL, who he and his wife named after himself. Coming from an athletic family, Ken Norton Jr. was destined to become a star. Norton Jr grew up in Los Angeles, and played football at his high-school Westchester High. Originally a tailback, Norton averaged 8.8 yards per carry as a senior.

Norton went on to college, but did not play football until his junior year at UCLA. In college Norton was converted to a linebacker, the position he would play for the remainder of his football career. Leaving college early for his football career, Norton returned in 1998 to earn a degree. He became the first in his family to earn a college degree.

Drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1988, Norton spent much of his first two seasons on the bench injured. Norton still managed to post nearly 90 tackles, playing injured in 1989. In 1991 Norton lead the Cowboys in solo stops and tackles, in posting his full active season. In his final two seasons with the Cowboys, Norton again was a stand out player. He contributed greatly to the two Super Bowl Championships he won in 1992 and 1993.

Norton's 49ers era began in 1994. With the 49ers, he led the team in tackles and recorded a career high pass defended with eleven. Norton became a huge contributor with the 49ers in their Super Bowl run, and in so doing, became the only player to ever win three consecutive Super Bowls.

Norton has not missed a game since 1993. His iron man streak is now at 160 consecutive games. Norton set many records with the 49ers including the record for tackles in a season with 165. His efforts granted him three Pro Bowl appearances and a multitude of player of the week awards.

Off the field, Norton is very into giving back to the community. He is a huge contributor to Big Brother and to the Entertainers and Athletes for Kids in Los Angeles. He is also active in the Pediatric Aids Foundation and the Special Olympics. Norton is married to Angela, and the two have two daughters Brittney and Sabrina as well as a son Ken Norton III.

As a 49ers player, Norton became a great talent both on and on the sidelines. His contributions and enthusiasm towards the game allowed Steve Mariucci to lean on Norton in his first year as head coach of the team. Norton's leadership capabilities enabled the 49ers to have a coach on the field. Norton will forever be remembered as a 49er, and as one of the hardest hitters of the game - his dad should be proud.

.: Articles By 49ers Paradise :.
Fan Memories of Ken Norton Jr

"The people are fantastic in the Bay Area and the fans are fantastic. I was greeted with open arms when I arrived and I'll never forget that.

-- Ken Norton Jr. Former star linebacker of the 49ers who won three consecutive Super Bowls

"He's one of the finest men we have ever had here with the 49ers...He handled (his release) with class and dignity. He's the ultimate professional."

-- Bill Walsh, the current general manager and former head coach of the 49ers.

"One of the most difficult things that I find in coaching is parting ways with your favorite guys. Not only from a production standpoint on the field, but from a leadership, friendship and mutual respect standpoint,"

-- Steve Mariucci, who has grown close to Norton and leaned on him in his initial season as coach of the 49ers.

"Ken Norton Jr. was a 49er by every sense of the word, he had it all, class, dignity, ability and was a true gentleman, that I will miss seeing on the field every Sunday."

-- Bryan Hersh, creator of 49ers Paradise.


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