49ers’ K.J. Wright Hire Elicits Brutal Reaction From Ex-Seahawks Star

Bruce Irvin

Getty Former Seahawks star Bruce Irvin expressed his disgust with the 49ers hiring K.J. Wright.

The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks have more bulletin board material for their heated rivalry heading into the 2024 season.

San Francisco’s hire of K.J. Wright as the assistant linebackers/defensive quality control coach away from Seattle elicited a brutal reaction from a former Seahawks teammate. Linebacker Bruce Irvin spouted off on X (formerly Twitter), before he deleted it.

“Terrible!” Irvin wrote. “I hate the niners! I would never ever work with that city in any kind of way! Permanent opps 4life!!!!”

Irvin and Wright played together with the Seahawks during the Legion of Boom era where the team won the 2014 Super Bowl. Now, Irvin plays for the Miami Dolphins, which host the 49ers in 2024.

Since 2004, the 49ers and Seahawks have been the two most frequent NFC West champions. The Seahawks have nine division titles in that span, and the 49ers have six, and Seattle holds a 30-22 edge in the all-time series.

Wright becomes the second former Seahawks member on the 49ers coaching staff. Niners defensive coordinator Nick Sorenson previously served on the Seahawks coaching staff from 2013 to 2020.

K.J. Wright: ‘This Isn’t Some Vendetta Move’

Well aware of the heated NFC West rivalry, Wright emphasized that he made the move for the professional opportunity.

“It is true,” Wright said during his “K.J. All Day” podcast on Monday. “I am the new linebacker assistant coach/defensive quality control coach of the San Francisco 49ers. I am thoroughly excited. I am really, really happy for this opportunity. I’m really, really happy for the Niners organization believing in me. Trusting me with their franchise. [I’ve been] competing against those guys since day one. My first-ever NFL game was against the Niners. … Here I am, 13, 14 years down the road about to be coaching for them.”

“This isn’t some vendetta move,” he added. “This is a really cool opportunity for me.”

K.J. Wright: ‘This Is Step One’

Wright will look to help the 49ers defense build on another strong season where the team allowed 17.5 points per game and 322 yards per game in 2023.

“This is where my heart is. My heart is in coaching,” Wright said. “My heart is in building something special. Teamwork, camaraderie, going through the ups, going through the downs, finding a game plan to be successful. This is what I do. This is what I’ve been called to do.”

“I can’t wait to get started,” Wright added. “Be a part of a championship culture. To bring another Super Bowl to my resume. To climb that ladder. I’ve got big aspirations for what I want to do next with this career. This is step one.”

Wright has a solid core of linebackers to work in that first step with Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner. Greenlaw had 132 tackles, 2.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and four interceptions in 2023. Warner tallied 120 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Kyle Shanahan ‘Must See Some Things’ in Nick Sorenson

The promotion of Sorenson to defensive coordinator means continuity in scheme as 49ers Webzone’s Marc Adams sees it.

“49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan must see some things in Sorensen that he likes,” Adams wrote. “For one, Sorensen worked on Pete Carroll’s Seattle staff and has been with the 49ers for the past two seasons, so he knows the system. And Sorensen has led some team meetings during that time, and so Shanahan has had a chance to see him in action.”

“We also know that Shanahan wants to keep this system,” Adams added. “That’s why it didn’t work out a year ago when they were interviewing Vic Fangio.”

San Francisco hired Steve Wilks instead for 2023 before Shanahan fired him after the season.

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