K.J. Wright signs 1-day contract to retire as member of Seahawks

Jul 27, 2022, 12:19 PM | Updated: 12:42 pm
Seahawks K.J. Wright...
K.J. Wright warms up prior to a Seahawks game against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 15, 2020. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

On the same day the Seahawks begin a new era, they wrote a fine ending to the previous one by signing linebacker K.J. Wright to a one-day contract before the start of training camp Wednesday in order for him to retire as a member of the team.

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Wright was a key player for the Seahawks during the most successful period in team history. Joining the team as a fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Wright formed a formidable and stable duo at linebacker with perennial All-Pro Bobby Wagner, who joined the team as a second-round selection the next year. They played alongside each other for nine of Wright’s 11 pro seasons, and all told, Wright played 10 years with Seattle.

A Pro Bowler in 2016, Wright helped the Seahawks win the Super Bowl at the end of the 2014 season, reach the title game again a year later, and put together nine straight winning seasons from 2012-20.

He spent last season with the Las Vegas Raiders, his lone campaign with any team other than Seattle. Wright’s departure in free agency was in some ways a signal that a changing of the guard was coming in Seattle, with Wagner and quarterback Russell Wilson leaving town after last season due to release and trade, respectively.

Wright, who turned 33 years old last week, joined The Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports in June and discussed his future. He seemed prepared for the possibility of retirement.

“I’m gonna keep working out and stay ready for a phone call. And if a phone call does not come when I want the phone call to come, then I’ll be OK,” he told Mike Salk.

He also said in the interview that he was interested in coming back to the Seahawks franchise in a different role once his playing days were over.

“I want to be in the building. I want to to help,” he said. “I want to help build the team back to where I know they could be. Whether that’s on the front office side, whether that’s on the consulting side, coaching side, I would love to be in that building to help that team get back to a Super Bowl championship-caliber team.”

Wright’s one-day contract signing appears to have been an emotional moment for himself, head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, as evidenced by photos taken Wednesday by Seahawks photographer Rod Mar.

Not only was Wright always a solid contributor in his time with the Seahawks, but he seemed to get better with age. His best seasons arguably were his last two with Seattle, making 132 tackles and three interceptions – both career-high marks – in 2019, then following up with 86 tackles, a pick and two sacks in 2020. He was also a remarkably consistent presence on the team, playing all 16 games of the regular season six times with Seattle, and 15 games in another two. He also played all 17 games last year for the Raiders.

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