Working quickly to find a replacement for departing defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Seahawks have requested an interview with Broncos defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.
Donatell, who will turn 65 years old next month, offers 31 years of experience as an NFL assistant coach with six different organizations. He offers 10 years of experience as an NFL defensive coordinator, as he held the title with Green Bay from 2000 to 2003 and Atlanta from 2004 to 2006 before teaming up with head coach Vic Fangio in Denver the past three seasons.
In 10 years as a coordinator, Donatell has coached three top-10 scoring defenses, including the Broncos finishing third last season and 10th overall in 2019. The Packers ranked fifth in the league in scoring defense under his watch back in 2001, his second season with the franchise.
Interestingly, Donatell's first non-graduate assistant coaching job was at the University of Pacific in 1983. On the same staff, current Seahawks coach Pete Carroll served as the defensive coordinator for the Tigers. The two would eventually be reunited with the New York Jets from 1990 to 1994 when Donatell joined the team as a defensive backs coach and Carroll was a defensive coordinator for three seasons and the head coach for a single season before being fired.
While Carroll and Donatell haven't been on the same staff since both departed New York nearly three decades ago, the two have crossed paths in the NFC West. Shortly after Carroll became Seattle's head coach in 2010, Donatell joined coach Jim Harbaugh's staff in San Francisco as a defensive backs coach and held that position for four seasons when the rivalry between the two franchises was at its peak.
Carroll isn't the only noteworthy connection Donatell has on the Seahawks staff either. After his stint with the 49ers, he joined Fangio with the Bears as a defensive backs coach and current Seahawks defensive line coach Clint Hurtt was a member of the same staff coaching defensive line and outside linebackers for three seasons.
With the Broncos in the process of interviewing coaches to take over for Fangio, who was fired shortly after the conclusion of the 2021 season, Donatell could emerge as a frontrunner to replace Norton. The Seahawks are also expected to give Hurtt, who has reportedly been linked to the University of Miami's defensive coordinator job, strong consideration as an in-house option as well.
Given their past history together, it's also not out of the realm of possibility Seattle could hire Donatell and Hurtt as co-defensive coordinators, with Donatell being the pass game coordinator and Hurtt being the run game coordinator working in tandem with Carroll.