Seahawks’ Pete Carroll Breaks Silence on Russell Wilson Bombshell Report

Pete Carroll

Getty Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

It’s been nearly a year since the Seattle Seahawks traded Russell Wilson and he’s still a topic of conversation for Seattle head coach Pete Carroll.

While speaking to reporters February 28 at the beginning of the NFL Scouting Combine, Carroll said he felt the Denver Broncos hired the “right coach” in Sean Payton to get Wilson back “on track” in 2023.

But Carroll also addressed the bombshell report from The Athletic that Wilson asked Seahawks ownership to fire both Carroll and general manager John Schneider.

“There’s nothing I’m commenting about that but to say that stuff is said — it’s always been said for years — and guys come and go with their thoughts and their emotions and all that, and I ain’t worried about it,” Carroll said.

The Athletic’s Kalyn Kahler, Mike Sando and Jayson Jenks reported on February 24 that Wilson sought to get the Seahawks head coach fired because he had “clashed in recent years” with Carroll over the passing game and the overall direction of the offense.

“Convinced that Carroll and Schneider were inhibiting his quest to win additional Super Bowls and individual awards, Wilson asked Seahawks ownership to fire both of them, according to league sources who spoke to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the details,” according to the story.

Wilson denied the report on February 24, tweeting, “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. I’ll always have respect for them and love for Seattle.”

Pete Carroll Responds to Report That Russell Wilson Wanted Him Fired

In typical Carroll fashion, he was positive in his first public response about the report saying that Wilson wanted him fired.

“My response to that is a similar response to what it’s always been with guys I’ve coached,” Carroll told the media. “I’m always going to hang with them, I’m never going to leave them and I’m going to be there at the end.

“All of the good stuff, all of the bad stuff, I’m still going to be there. So, that’s it, I’m hanging.

“Doesn’t matter who the guy is … regardless of what had happened, what has taken place, things that have been said. [If] you hang with them, it all comes back around. I’d like to demonstrate that faith in the relationship and the depth of what we did together, and the growth challenges it brings to us along the way.”

Carroll and Wilson posted a 104-53-1 record in 10 seasons together. But the narrative after the trade last year was that Carroll and the Seahawks were going to significantly decline without Wilson while the veteran quarterback was ready to compete for Super Bowls again with the Broncos.

Essentially, the opposite happened, with the Seahawks earning a playoff spot and Wilson leading the Broncos to a 4-11 record in 2022.

Pete Carroll Calls Sean Payton ‘Right Coach’ for Russell Wilson

The Athletic’s story reported that Payton was the coach Wilson wanted to replace Carroll with in Seattle. Yet, on February 28, Carroll had only positive things to say about Payton, too, who will be entering his first season as Broncos head coach this fall.

“I don’t think you can come up with a guy better coaching quarterbacks than Sean [Payton],” Carroll said. “He’s proven that. He’s had such tremendous success … he’s got a great play-caller mentality to him … they’re very fortunate to have him.”

Wilson didn’t necessarily need a great play-caller with the Seahawks. Carroll comes from a defensive background, and the Seahawks went through three offensive coordinators from 2012-21. Wilson experienced success with all of them, as he made nine Pro Bowls and led the NFL in passing touchdowns during 2017.

During his first season with the Broncos under first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett, though, Wilson threw a career-low 16 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He also completed a career-worst 60.5% of his passes for 3,524 yards.

Unlike the Seahawks, the Broncos were willing to go all-in on catering to Wilson’s wishes. But the Seahawks have quickly moved on without the Super Bowl winning signal caller.

Denver is still waiting for their $242.6 million investment in Wilson to succeed.

While Carroll took the high road when talking about Wilson on February 28, he did not deny the report as fact. When speaking to the media the same day, Schneider also didn’t deny the truth of The Athletic report.

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