Ricky Manning Jr.

Coaching Rumors: Colts, Steelers, Morton

John Morton and Jim Harbaugh worked together during the best stretch of 21st-century 49ers football, with Morton coaching San Francisco’s wide receivers from 2011-14. That duo could link up again in Ann Arbor. Michigan is interested in the one-and-done Jets OC to coach its wideouts, Bruce Feldman of SI.com reports. Former Florida head coach Jim McElwain is also in the running for this job, Feldman reports, noting the ex-Gators leader interviewed recently. Morton spent one year as an NFL OC but has experience on the college level, having overseen the 2009 and ’10 USC offenses. He coached the Trojans’ WRs in the two years prior. Morton spent the past seven seasons in the NFL. The Jets fired Morton last month.

Here’s the latest from the coaching ranks, now that every NFL team has a head coach again.

  • Frank Reich has been contacting coaches about joining his first Colts staff over the past few days, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets, and former Lions defensive backs coach (and ex-Vikings DC) Alan Williams is a candidate to join Reich in Indianapolis. If hired, Williams would be returning to Indianapolis, along with Reich. Williams served as Colts DBs coach throughout the Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell tenures, which spanned 10 years from 2002-11. Reich was on Caldwell’s three Colts staffs. Matt Patricia did not retain any Lions defensive coaches upon taking the job in Detroit.
  • A defensive line coach for four NFL teams between 2004 and 2015, Karl Dunbar will join a fifth staff in that capacity. The Steelers hired Dunbar after he’d spent the past two seasons coaching at Alabama. He’ll head up the Pittsburgh D-line and rejoin forces with Mike Tomlin. Dunbar served under Tomlin for one season with the Vikings (2006) before the defensive assistant took the top coaching job in Pittsburgh. Dunbar, who coached in Minnesota for six years, also was an eighth-round Steelers pick in 1990. John Mitchell served as Pittsburgh’s defensive line coach from 1994-2017. The longtime Steelers assistant will remain on staff and retain his assistant head coach title next season.
  • The Steelers also promoted Shaun Sarrett to assistant offensive line coach, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic tweets. Sarrett has worked with Steelers blockers since 2012.
  • Ricky Manning Jr. will not return for a third season with the Seahawks, Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk tweets. The former NFL cornerback had been the teams’ assistant defensive backs coach the past two seasons.

West Notes: Rams, Manning, Kaepernick

The Rams placed the franchise tag on cornerback Trumaine Johnson earlier today, and general manager Les Snead was certainly enthused that the NFC’s interception leader would be staying with the organization.

“Since we drafted Trumaine in 2012, he has developed into an integral part of our defense,” Snead told Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News (via Twitter). “We look forward to having him with us this season and more to come.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the NFC’s Western divisions…

  • Recycling a theory he proposed in relation to the Calvin Johnson situation in Detroit, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders if Peyton Manning might want the Broncos to release him before he makes a retirement decision, since that would allow him greater freedom down the road in the event that he decides to continue his career.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com explains why the Rams look like the most logical trade partner for the 49ers if San Francisco decides to grant Colin Kaepernick‘s agents request to seek out a deal for their client.
  • Fresno State assistant – and former NFL defensive back – Ricky Manning Jr. is set to join the Seahawks as an assistant defensive backs coach, according to Anthony Galaviz of The Fresno Bee (Twitter link).
  • The Rams are also making a change to their coaching staff, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, who tweets that assistant linebackers coach Joe Bowden has been moved to an assistant special teams role.

Ben Levine contributed to this post.