Seahawks’ Pete Carroll Responds to Report Russell Wilson Tried to Have Him Fired

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 28, 2023

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 12: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos shake hands after their game at Lumen Field on September 12, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll publicly weighed in on a report that Russell Wilson wanted him fired when the quarterback was still on the team.

Carroll said he’d support his current and former players regardless of what occurs between them, per Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic:

“I’m always going to hang with them, and I’m never going to leave them. I’m going to be there at the end of all of the good stuff, all of the bad stuff. It doesn’t matter who the guy is. … Regardless of what has happened or taken place or the things that have been said at all, if you hang with them, it all comes back around. I like to demonstrate that faith in the relationship and the depth of what we did together and hang through what growth challenges bring to us along the way.”

The Athletic reported Friday that Wilson asked for the Seahawks to fire both Carroll and general manager John Schneider in February 2022. He believed the coach and GM “were inhibiting his quest to win additional Super Bowls and individual awards” and wanted former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton as a replacement.

Yet the team decided to trade Wilson to the Denver Broncos ahead of the 2022 campaign instead.

For his part, the quarterback said he loved Carroll and denied asking the team to fire the coach:

Russell Wilson @DangeRussWilson

I love Pete and he was a father figure to me and John believed in me and drafted me as well. I never wanted them fired. All any of us wanted was to win.

l’ll always have respect for them and love for Seattle.

Carroll added Tuesday: “There’s nothing I’m commenting about that. Stuff is said, it’s always been said for years and guys come and go with their thoughts and emotions and all that. I ain’t worried.”

Schneider called the situation “water under the bridge.”

Wilson’s relationship with the team seemed somewhat tenuous even before last offseason when he reportedly made the request and was eventually traded.

After all, his agent, Mark Rodgers, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter in February 2021 his client was willing to waive a no-trade clause to go to the Saints, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears or Las Vegas Raiders.

Wilson is the best quarterback in Seahawks history, so moving him was surely not an easy decision. He was a Super Bowl champion and nine-time Pro Bowl during his 10 seasons with the team that selected him with a third-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

Things took a turn for the worse in Denver, though, as he went 4-11 as a starter and completed a career-worst 60.5 percent of his passes for a career-low 16 touchdowns. Denver fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett before the season even ended, although Wilson is now with Payton after the Broncos hired him as a replacement.

Seattle surprised and reached the playoffs during its first season after the Wilson trade with Geno Smith under center.

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