K.J. Wright, Seahawks Have Discussed Return, HC Pete Carroll Says: 'I Love K.J.'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 8, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 09:  Outside linebacker K.J. Wright #34 of the Las Vegas Raiders runs off the field after the team's 35-32 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
Chris Unger/Getty Images

Until last year, the Seattle Seahawks were all linebacker K.J. Wright knew about the NFL.

Seattle drafted him in the fourth round in 2011, and he played for the NFC West team through the 2020 campaign. While he was a member of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2021, he told Trey Wingo on the Half-Forgotten History podcast that he prefers to "go back home" and play for the Seahawks again.

"I love K.J.," Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said when asked about Wright's comments, per Brady Henderson of ESPN. "I've already talked to him about stuff for the future and all that. I did hear that he talked about playing and we've already talked about that."

Wright didn't stop there and continued, saying, "I think it's that simple. Seattle knows that I want to come back. They know how much they mean to me."

Despite the linebacker's decision to not hold back his true feelings and the apparent conversations he had with Carroll, Henderson suggested the Seahawks will likely use the younger Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton as their starting inside linebackers in 2022.

A shift toward younger players on defense has been something of a trend of late, as Seattle released Bobby Wagner this offseason and elected against re-signing Wright last offseason. Wagner is a franchise icon as an eight-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro, but that didn't even sway the front office during what could be something of a rebuild after going 7-10 in 2021.

Wright may not be quite the legend that Wagner is, but he still has the fourth-most tackles in franchise history and helped the team win a Super Bowl during the 2013 campaign.

The Mississippi State product was a 2016 Pro Bowler and has five seasons with more than 100 tackles on his resume. 

The 32-year-old took a step back production-wise in his one season with the Raiders with 51 tackles and seemed to hint retirement may be an option if the Seahawks choose not to re-sign him ahead of the 2022 campaign.

"Last year I left, went to Vegas by myself," Wright said. "My family didn't come with me. I'm not doing that again. I don't think I'm going to move my family anywhere else across the country, so if it's not Seattle, then I'll be content."