One such story came from former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and quarterback KJ Wright. The pair discussed Wilson’s tenure in Seattle on The Richard Sherman Podcast this week, with both explaining how Wilson enjoyed special treatment throughout his early years with the Seahawks.
“He wasn’t held to the same accountability as the rest of us,” Wright said.
“When you get 52 men arrested under certain criteria and you get one man out of the criteria, it’s going to cause some friction,” Sherman added.
Sherman added that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was blaming defense in meetings when they weren’t playing well but wouldn’t call up Wilson until he’s older. The feud came to a head in 2015 after the Seahawks lost to the New England Patriots at Super Bowl XLIX when the team had to decide between giving Wilson a long-term extension or keeping its defense intact.
“After a while, he had to get to the point where he would choose Ross or the defense, and after losing the Super Bowl, he kind of made it clear what he would choose,” Sherman said.
The Seahawks would sign Wilson on a four-year, $87.6 million extension in 2015, which at the time made him the second highest-paid player in the NFL. Slowly, the rest of the team’s core pieces were discarded and by 2018 the defense lost most of its best players, including Sherman, linebackers Michael Bennett and Cliff April.
Wright and Sherman argued that these losses added to the pressure on Wilson which ultimately undermined Wilson’s feelings for the franchise.
“And that’s what happens when I make that decision,” Sherman said. “They put that pressure on him…and now, it’s up to the quarterback to make that thing work. And when it didn’t work, it was pressure from all sides. Then I saw the collapse.”
Wilson’s divorce from the Seahawks has been discussed a lot since he left this season. His frustrations with the franchise and Carol continued for years, and the team reportedly looked at other quarterback prospects as far back as the 2017 draft. But when Wilson returned to Seattle as a member of the Broncos in the first week and lost, it was Carroll who had the last laugh.
“So when you talk about who won the breakup between Ross and Coach Carol, it’s clearly Coach Carol,” Wright said. “He took the win. He put the city on his back. He made the previous guys come into the game. And only then, Ross.”