The Seattle Seahawks learned on Thursday, Sept. 2, that longtime linebacker KJ Wright will not return to the team for the 2022 season. He signed a one-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders and will don the Silver and Black. Prior to heading to his next destination, Wright said a special goodbye to his former team and the fanbase.
Wright posted the message on his Instagram and started with a photo of him saluting the fans. He then recorded a clip explaining how much playing in Seattle meant to him and how the fanbase welcomed him with open arms from the very first day. Now, however, he will head to Las Vegas and start a new chapter while the Seahawks try to fill the sizable spot left in his wake.
“Seattle, what’s going on? KJ here,” the longtime linebacker said in his video. “I just want to thank each and every one of you. These past 10 years have been nothing but amazing, and it’s definitely been my honor, my privilege, to perform in front of y’all, to bring a championship to the city, to visit schools, to working in the community, to just giving my heart and soul to this city. It’s truly been my pleasure.”
Wright Quickly Made His Mark on the Seahawks
A fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Wright did not wait before making his mark on the Seahawks defense. He quickly jumped into the rotation, appearing in all 16 games and starting 12. Wright posted 65 combined tackles, forced one fumble, and registered two sacks as the Hawks went 7-9.
Wright went on to start every game for which he was healthy between 2012-2017 while becoming one of the biggest stars on the vaunted Seattle defense. He helped the team reach the playoffs five consecutive times and secure a blowout 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Wright only appeared in five regular-season games during the 2018 season — his last before preparing to hit free agency — while dealing with a knee injury throughout the year. Despite expressing concerns about having to seek options elsewhere, Wright returned to the Seahawks on a multi-year deal and posted career highs in interceptions (three) and combined tackles (132) in 2019. Wright finished out his Seahawks career with another strong season in 2020, which included his eighth trip to the NFC playoffs.
Wright Made a Bigger Impact on the Community
While Wright made an undeniable impact on the Seahawks during his tenure with the team, he did even more in communities around the world. He spent considerable time providing assistance in a multitude of ways, ranging from football camps in Mississippi to helping build houses in South Seattle and other less-advantaged areas.
The linebacker’s efforts also took him to foreign lands. Back in 2018, Wright helped raise more than $75,000 to provide clean water in Kenya. He had previously taken a trip to the country with his teammates and saw that the residents had bottles filled with brown water. He returned to the United States and partnered with Healing Hands International.
Wright announced on Nov. 1, 2018, that he would donate $300 for every tackle he registered during the 2018 season. According to the Seahawks website, he started with a goal of $250 but raised the amount after missing time due to injury. Wright set an initial goal of $50,000 but surpassed it with a successful campaign.
According to an article from NFL Media, each well costs roughly $20,000. Wright raised enough — including the $25,000 that comes with being named a Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee — to build two wells closer to the village. He also raised enough money to provide future aid to those in Kenya.
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