What Seahawks’ Pete Carroll and John Schneider said about Russell Wilson offseason drama
For a number of weeks earlier this NFL offseason, the Seahawks were the talk of the sports world due to comments made by star quarterback Russell Wilson, whose displeasure with how often he has been sacked and hit led to speculation that he wanted to be traded.
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Despite the ongoing media frenzy that came about due to Wilson’s comments as well as Wilson’s agent giving ESPN’s Adam Schefter a list of four teams Wilson would OK a trade to, the Seahawks stayed very quiet and let things die down. Now, just a day away from the start of the 2021 NFL Draft, the frenzy has indeed died down and Wilson is still in Seattle.
For the first time this offseason, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider spoke to the media and, as expected, a lot of the conversation centered around Wilson and the offseason rumors and drama that went down for weeks. Here’s what those two had to say.
Frustrations valid and both sides communicated
When asked about Wilson saying he was frustrated with certain aspects of the team’s play like pass protection, Carroll said the quarterback isn’t the only one who feels that way.
“He wasn’t any more frustrated than I was,” Carroll said. “… He was asked the questions and he responded. He was frustrated. We all are. When we don’t win the last game of the year … it was hard. I think that’s a pretty normal reaction to be frustrated.”
Added Schneider: “Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson are two of the most passionate and competitive people I know and passionate people say passionate things. I think it just kind of came out.”
Because of the rumors flying around about Wilson being frustrated with the Seahawks, it was unclear how much Wilson and the team were talking this offseason. Carroll made it clear that the two sides have been in contact every step of the way, which has been the case for years.
“We’ve had as many conversations as we’ve ever had. We’ve talked extensively throughout the offseason,” Carroll said. “There wasn’t a time that went by that we weren’t talking and in communication.”
Media fueled the fire, both sides went quiet
Wilson’s name being in tweets, reports, stories and headlines may lead you to believe that one or both sides were unhappy with the other, but Carroll said a lot of the issue was in how it was portrayed due to media speculation.
“We worked our way through whatever was in hand at the time and we realized that it’s very obvious how a frustration comment can turn into so much follow up,” he said. “I think the speculation in the media was an obvious factor in how his words were portrayed.”
Because it was apparent to him about how the situation was going to be portrayed, Carroll said he told Wilson early in the offseason that both sides going quiet and not responding to media reports or anything of that nature was the best way to approach it, especially since Carroll, Wilson and the team knew “what the truth was.”
“I knew right where Russ was coming from and unfortunately for the people who were following it (in the media) you didn’t have the benefit of what I knew and what Russ knew,” he said.
No trade talks occurred
The Chicago Bears were one of the four teams that Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, provided to ESPN, which caused more trade rumors to fly. There was also a report that the Bears offered Seattle a haul of draft picks and players for Wilson.
Schneider said the Seahawks didn’t engage in serious trade talks because they are committed to Wilson.
“There was a number of teams that called after that media blitz that happened, but no, I never actively negotiated with anybody or with any team,” he said. “Did people call? Absolutely … There were no active negotiations going on.”
Carroll echoed that commitment to Wilson.
“I knew what the truth was and we’re not trading Russell,” he said. “We plan on him being here for a good while … But we’re in great shape and (have) a long future ahead of us.”
As far as the list is concerned, Schneider said he spoke to Wilson’s agent while Carroll spoke to Wilson regularly.
Carroll did make it known that he wasn’t too thrilled with the list and other aspects of the relationship going public.
“When (that list) came out, that kind of got it over the top in that it opened up other conversations that didn’t need to happen, and that’s an example of why we’re quiet and why we don’t say anything,” Carroll said. “… It just kind of gave another little bite in there that people could talk about and I wish we would have avoided that.”
Any issues going forward?
Rule No. 1 for the Seahawks under Carroll is “protect the team.” Carroll was asked whether Wilson violated that team rule with his comments and matters going public.
Carroll did admit that the rule “was challenged” because things went public, but overall there’s no major issue.
“It looked like there was a problem, but there really wasn’t a problem,” Carroll said. “… It’s a media problem. It wasn’t a problem for us because we knew the truth (from talking to each other).”
When asked if Wilson had to work to mend any relationships with teammates or people in the organization, Carroll said the team tries to “cut a brother some slack” because words and feelings often get misinterpreted. Not surprisingly, Carroll again pointed to communication as being a key both in the past and going forward.
“We have to always be open-minded and talk things through with the guys and that is ongoing around a club like this,” he said. “… Our guys are taking are of their business and they’re communicating well and we don’t have any issues at all.”