One such story came from former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and linebacker KJ Wright. The pair discussed Wilson’s tenure in Seattle on… The Richard Sherman Podcast this week, where both explained how Wilson received special treatment during his early years with the Seahawks.
“He was not held to the same responsibility as the rest of us,” Wright said.
“If you hold 52 men to a certain standard and you have a man who is not kept to the standard, that’s going to cause some friction,” Sherman added.
Sherman added that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll would admonish the defense in meetings when they weren’t playing well, but wouldn’t call Wilson until he was older. All the animosity came to a head in 2015 after the Seahawks lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, when the team had to decide between giving Wilson an extended overtime or keeping his defense intact.
“After a while, it had to get to a point where he chose Russ or the defense,” Sherman said, “and after the Super Bowl loss, he made it pretty clear who he chose.”
The Seahawks would sign Wilson to a four-year, $87.6 million extension in 2015, making him the second-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL at the time. Slowly, the rest of the team’s core pieces were thrown out and by 2018, the defense had lost most of its best players, including Sherman and defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Cliff Abril.
Those losses, Wright and Sherman said, put additional pressure on Wilson, ultimately putting an end to Wilson’s own feelings for the franchise.
“And that’s what happens when you make that decision,” Sherman said. “They put pressure on him. … And now it’s up to the quarterback to make this thing work. And when it didn’t work, it was busy on all sides. And then you saw the break.”
Wilson’s separation from the Seahawks has been much discussed since his departure this off-season. His frustrations with the franchise and Carroll lasted for years, and the team reportedly looked at other quarterback prospects as early as the 2017 draft. But when Wilson returned to Seattle in Week 1 as a member of the Broncos and lostit was Carroll who had the last laugh.
“So when you talk about who won the split between Russ and Coach Carroll, it’s clearly Coach Carroll,” Wright said. “He’s won. He’s got the city on his back. He’s brought the former players to the game. And then it’s just, Russ.”