Seahawks Teammates Said Russell Wilson ‘Checked out’ Last Season: Report

Russell Wilson

Getty The Athletic reports that Seahawks teammates said they "sensed" quarterback Russell Wilson had "checked out" last season.


umors that the Seattle Seahawks were going to trade quarterback Russell Wilson began last offseason, but Michael-Shawn Dugar, Jayson Jenks and Mike Sando of The Athletic report that the pending divorce between Wilson and the Seahawks began years ago.

Dugar, Jenks and Sando also wrote in an article on March 9 that some of Wilson’s teammates “said they sensed” the nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback “had checked out” during 2021.

“For years, [Mark] Rodgers (Wilson’s agent) reached out privately to reporters covering the team with harsh criticism for Seahawks management, especially coach Pete Carroll,” Dugar, Jenks and Sando wrote. “In recent years, Wilson himself made it clear in interviews that he wasn’t happy with his offensive line and his lack of input in roster decisions. He also pressed Carroll to shift toward a more pass-oriented offense.

“Sources said the Seahawks had become frustrated with the stream of leaks that consistently popped up hinting at Wilson’s displeasure or questioning his future in Seattle, even as Wilson’s production began to decline. Some teammates said they sensed this year that Wilson had checked out.”

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Divorce for Russell Wilson & the Seahawks

The three reporters from The Athletic wrote that things began to change for the Wilson and the Seahawks when they missed the playoffs in 2017. But the article detailed an arguably even more important turning point during the 2020 season.

Seattle started 2020 impressively with a 5-0 record. During that winning streak, Wilson averaged 8.9 yards per pass with 19 touchdowns and three interceptions.

In those five wins, the Seahawks posted 33.8 points per game. Wilson was on pace for career highs and new NFL records — 60 passing touchdowns and 4,800 passing yards.

But over the next four games, Wilson threw seven interceptions, and the Seahawks went 1-3.

The Athletic reports that at that point, Carroll “pulled back the reins,” returning to his “run-first” mentality that won Super Bowl XLVIII for the Seahawks.

Seattle finished the 2020 season with a 12-4 record, but the team suffered a home loss during the NFC Wild Card round. Then, Carroll fired offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who orchestrated the offensive play calling during Wilson’s hot start to the season.

About a month later, Wilson went public with his complaints about the organization on The Dan Patrick Show.

Russell Wilson Rushed Back from Finger Injury, Made Ninth Pro Bowl in 2021

If Wilson was indeed “checked out” for the 2021 season, it was hard to tell. He started the season strongly with nine touchdowns and zero interceptions while averaging 9.5 yards per pass through the first four games.

Then Wilson suffered a finger injury in Week 5 and underwent surgery. The original timeline of recovery for the Seahawks quarterback was a month and a half, but he returned in four weeks.

“This is a remarkable story of recovery, and really of a guy setting the intent that he was going to do this and pull off, and he’s way, way ahead of schedule,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told in November.

It’s hard to argue a quarterback that motivated to return from an injury — for a losing team, no less — was “checked out.”

Wilson struggled immediately upon return, but that can be credited to the fact he was likely still recovering from surgery. In the final seven games of 2021, Wilson posted 1,549 passing yards with 15 touchdowns and three interceptions. Despite missing three games, he made his fifth straight Pro Bowl.

Although his overall numbers were lower than normal due to the injury, Wilson still had an excellent touchdown-to-interception ratio (25 touchdowns versus six interceptions) last season. He also averaged 7.8 yards per pass, which matched his overall career average and was better than the 7.5 yards per attempt average he posted in 2020.

The Seahawks traded Wilson and a 2022 fourth-round pick to the Denver Broncos on March 8 for Denver’s 2022 first and second-round picks, a 2022 fifth-round pick, 2023 first and second-round picks, quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant and defensive lineman Shelby Harris.

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Patrick O'Neal
Patrick O'Neal
6 months ago

The 2021 season amounted to a highlight reel for RW to gin up interest in a trade. Why else would PC allow Russell to come back early from his injury when he clearly wasn’t ready and cost the team at least 2 games with his poor play?? Nope. The deal was sealed at that point. Russ and the Seahawks had agreed to part ways before the season began.

Mike Hutcheson
Mike Hutcheson
6 months ago

I just wanna see if Russ slips up and ends his first interview with Denver media by saying “Go Hawks”

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