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A 'flattered' Norton will stay with Trojans

January 16, 2008|Gary Klein

USC linebackers coach Ken Norton, who was wooed by UCLA to return to his alma mater, said Tuesday he would remain with the Trojans.

Norton, 41, said he spoke with new Bruins Coach Rick Neuheisel and defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker about joining the UCLA staff as an assistant head coach. Chuck Bullough is UCLA's linebackers coach.

"I'm flattered. They'll always be a team in my heart," said Norton, an All-American linebacker for the Bruins in 1987 who played 13 seasons in the NFL. "I feel real good about Rick Neuheisel and what he's going to do there.

"The timing just wasn't right. I'm really appreciative of what Pete Carroll has done for me over here, and my business is not finished."

Norton has coached four seasons at USC.

"It's awesome," Carroll said. "We love him and gave him time to figure it out."

Asked if Norton had received a raise to remain with the Trojans, Carroll said, "We're always competing. . . . We're taking care of him. He deserves it and we're thrilled to have him back."

Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, who is draft eligible, said Monday that if Norton had not assured him he would remain at USC, he probably would have turned pro.

"I can't see myself being coached by anybody else," Maualuga said.

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-- Gary Klein

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