STACY ROST

Rost: Seen and heard from 87th annual Seattle Sports Star of the Year Awards

May 28, 2022, 10:16 AM

Seattle Seahawks K.J. Wright...

Cam Akers of the Los Angeles Rams is tackled by K.J. Wright of the Seattle Seahawks. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

I had many career dreams as a child: archeologist, waitress, teacher, baker, zoologist. As a young consumer of pop culture, one of those dreams was also to be on a red carpet, either interviewing or being interviewed (I’d need both hands and both feet to count the number of times 7-year-old me pretended to accept an Academy Award). I’ve long given up on that short-lived endeavor, but I did finally get a chance to interview some local Seattle sports stars on a red carpet, and it went about as well as anyone could expect for someone who has literally never done that before.

“What are you wearing?”

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The oft-asked question, of course, is “who are you wearing,” in reference to designer suits and gowns. But I flubbed my first try. Thankfully former Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls, who was being interviewed by Mike Salk Show producer Maura Dooley and me, laughed it off.

Off to a great start!

The 87th annual Sports Star of the Year Awards did genuinely get off to a good start, though, and Maura and I were able to get a few interviews from the many local athletes in attendance. Here are a few takeaways from the sights and sounds of Seattle’s biggest awards show:

• Seattle Sounders FC head coach Brian Schmetzer believes the FIFA Club World Cup – exact date yet to be determined — will be held in late January: “It’s going to be towards the beginning of the year, sometime late January (or) early February. It is going to be the same format they had before, maybe seven teams. We’ll be in a bucket with 3, 4, and 5. It’ll be a hard tournament, but we want to go there and win the first game because that puts us in a good way to see if we can’t make it to the finals, so that first game will be key.”

• Washington State Athletic Director Pat Chun on why he’s so excited about the Cougars’ newest transfer quarterback Cameron Ward: “He’s got the leadership piece, he’s got mastery of this offense – because it is a system, with Coach (Eric) Morris’ version of the Air Raid – but I think you’re going to be amazed. He’s got all the – I know young kids like to copy it – Pat Mahomes weird arm throws. But he fits us well and I think it’s going to be a fun year.”

• Former Seattle Sonics head coach George Karl on why he thinks athletes outside of Seattle have continued to advocate for the Sonics’ return, and when he thinks it may happen: “Well, there has not been an expansion since they left. I think the Sacramento debacle really was an ugly thing, because back then I thought Seattle was going to get that team. And you’ve just got to stay optimistic and patient. It’s a big business now; basketball used to be kind of a community thing, now it’s a multi-billion-dollar business. There are a lot of people (who) know what’s going on, and I have a lot of confidence that Seattle’s going to get lucky and get a team.”

K.J. Wright: From the field to the booth?

Wright, who recently appeared on NFL Network, spoke about a potential future as a football analyst and spent a bit of time talking about Seattle’s recent transition to a base 3-4 defense.

“It’s a possibility,” Wright said. “I love sports, I love media, and I know when it’s all said and done for my career I’ve got to stay around football or I’m going to lose my mind. And so I figure the best way to stay around the game is to talk sports. I have a good eye for it and I love it. But NFL Network was fantastic. I’m probably going to go back next month and see where life takes me. We shall see.”

What does the former Seahawk think about Seattle’s recent transition to a 3-4 defense?

“It’s going to be OK,” Wright said, “It’s going to be good. We did it about three years ago but Coach (Pete) Carroll didn’t have the personnel he wanted to do it. So now he has the personnel. He has the big guys up front, he has the pass rushers off the edge. But what I’m interested to see is on the backend: what they do coverage-wise. Coach Carroll has been Cover-3 his whole life, but I’m expecting him to switch it up a little bit to get a little more creative and throw offenses off a bit more.”

Listen to all the interviews at this link or in the player below.

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Rost: Seen and heard from 87th annual Seattle Sports Star of the Year Awards