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LB Okay.J. Wright retires as Seattle Seahawk after 11 NFL seasons

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RENTON, Wash. — Veteran linebacker K.J. Wright signed a ceremonial one-day contract Wednesday to retire as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, the workforce introduced.

Wright’s retirement ends an 11-year enjoying profession that included 10 seasons as a starter on the famed defenses that helped lead the Seahawks by way of probably the most profitable stretch in franchise historical past, which included a victory in Tremendous Bowl XLVIII and a close to repeat the subsequent yr.

Wright spent 2021 with the Las Vegas Raiders and was concerned with enjoying a twelfth NFL season provided that it was with the Seahawks, however they have been intent on going with youthful gamers in the midst of their revamped protection.

So Wright, who turned 33 on Saturday, will formally finish his profession in the identical place it started in 2011. He rose from a fourth-round choose with a lanky construct to one of many key — even when much less heralded — members of Seattle’s Legion of Growth protection. Wright’s résumé contains one Professional Bowl (after the 2016 season) and the No. 3 spot on the franchise’s profession tackles listing.

The story on the Seahawks’ web site saying Wright’s retirement confirmed him overcome with emotion whereas signing his one-day contract.

Coach Pete Carroll mentioned Wright had a number of members of the family with him as he signed the contract, calling it a “actual emotional” ceremony.

“It actually was,” Carroll mentioned. “It was emotional for all of us. It was an enormous deal for Okay.J. to lastly put his identify on the dotted line for the final time. There was a second there the place we have been 11 seasons and 230 video games and all of the years that he performed. He was simply making an attempt to suck it up and take up it and … he simply received emotional about it such as you’d assume he ought to and would.”

Spotrac.com lists Wright with greater than $49 million in gross on-field earnings.

“He is a improbable child and been a outstanding chief and performer and all that,” Carroll mentioned. “However even above all that, he is a outstanding individual. I hope that we will at all times hold him near this system. Actually glad that he is within the space dwelling right here. We’ve a bunch of [ex-Seahawks] that do reside right here. I am glad that he is type of nonetheless within the fraternity of all of it. I hope we’ll be capable of do extra work with Okay.J. sooner or later.”

Wright’s retirement announcement comes a day after information broke that operating again Chris Carson plans to retire as nicely. Carroll referred to as it “a disgrace” that Carson has to name it a profession due to the neck harm that sidelined him after the fourth sport of final season. He mentioned Carson and the workforce have been holding out hope all offseason that his surgically repaired neck would take a flip for the higher, however he hadn’t made progress when he was reexamined a few month in the past.

“So he is had a while to course of this, that it is coming,” Carroll mentioned. “He labored like loopy to do it, he was going for it the entire method. However as he mentioned yesterday, ‘I’ve had time to cope with it and I am OK about it.’ So he is transferring forward.”

The Seahawks launched Carson on Tuesday with a failed bodily designation, which entitles him to a portion of what he was set to make in 2022.

Carroll added: “I cherished the best way Chris Carson performed. I cherished his type, his aggressiveness, his creativity, his all-around athleticism. I cherished him on our workforce. It breaks my coronary heart to not have him once more, notably with how we’re going about it. We might like to have him. I am glad I had a while to work with him.”

Wright gained a beginning job at center linebacker as a rookie, then spent a lot of the remainder of his Seattle tenure on the weak facet, transferring there after the Seahawks drafted Bobby Wagner in 2012. These two shaped arguably the NFL’s finest inside linebacker duo of the previous decade. Wright made one other transfer to the sturdy facet early within the 2020 season and performed among the finest soccer of his profession at age 31, however he wasn’t re-signed the subsequent offseason because the Seahawks determined to go youthful at inside linebacker.

Wright recorded 51 tackles in 17 video games (eight begins) final season whereas enjoying on a one-year cope with the Raiders. He mentioned on the “Half-Forgotten Historical past” podcast earlier this offseason that he needed to “return dwelling” and play for the Seahawks. He wasn’t concerned with enjoying anyplace else, not wanting to maneuver his spouse and three kids from their Seattle-area dwelling or be away from them once more like he was final season in Las Vegas.

However with their youth motion persevering with this offseason — Seattle releasing Wagner and inserting Cody Barton into the beginning lineup alongside Jordyn Brooks — an on-field reunion was to not be.

Wright finishes his profession with 992 tackles, 13.5 sacks and 6 interceptions in 161 regular-season video games. His 934 tackles with the Seahawks (by the workforce’s depend) ranks third in franchise historical past behind Eugene Robinson at No. 2 and Wagner at No. 1.

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