False narrative about the Seattle Seahawks’ “winning culture” under Pete Carroll


The Seattle Seahawks have put in their worst showing under longtime head coach Pete Carroll, posting a 7-10 record in the 2021 season.

We saw some trouble with this organization prior to the 2021 campaign, when reports surfaced of a rift between Carroll and franchise quarterback Russell Wilson. While everything seemed to be fine between the two during the season, things changed when the calendar hit January.

There have continued to be leaks of issues between the two. First and foremost, Wilson wasn’t happy about being left out in player hiring decisions. He felt Carroll took on too big a role following the death of owner Paul Allen in October 2018.

Things came to a head in early March when Seattle shockingly decided to trade Wilson to the Denver Broncos for multiple players, two first-round picks and two second-round picks.

Ten Seasons. Ten of the most successful seasons in Seahawks franchise history. An inability for the two sides to come together on a middle ground. The end result was that Seattle walked away from Wilson due to below market value.

See Also: Winners and Losers of Russell Wilson’s Blockbuster Trade

Later, the same day Wilson was traded, the Seattle Seahawks ditched future Hall of Famer linebacker Bobby Wagner in another shocking decision. After all, the two were selected about 90 minutes apart in the 2012 NFL Draft.

After reports of Wagner’s release became public, the eight-time Pro Bowler took to social media to express his surprise at how Seattle had handled it all.

This is just a continuation of a theme we’ve seen from the Seahawks under Carroll and general manager John Schneider. That includes the team finding itself in chaotic divorces with other all-time great players in the Pacific Northwest.

The culture of the Seattle Seahawks under Pete Carroll is now in question

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when Seattle decided to leave Richard Sherman after he tore his Achilles tendon in the 2017 season? At this point it became clear that there were cracks in the Seahawks brand armor.

“You just expect them not to cut you when you’re injured after doing so much for a franchise. It’s more a matter of respect than anything else. But they did. So somehow you have to keep up with the business.”

Richard Sherman on the Seattle Seahawks (November 2018)

It’s no surprise that Sherman signed with division rivals San Francisco 49ers just hours after his release from the Seahawks in spring 2018.

Fast forward to fall 2018 when another franchise great in Earl Thomas injured his leg in a week four game against the Arizona Cardinals. A now infamous incident occurred where Pro Bowl security turned the bird in the direction of Pete Carroll. Thomas wouldn’t play another game with the team — signing a four-year, $55 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens in March 2019?

See also: Seattle Seahawks 2022 Mock Draft

Do you sense a theme here? It seems like former Seattle Seahawks players think they were treated like cattle during their time with the organization. That’s no more obvious than the following post from former Seahawks defenseman Branden Jackson in response to Wagner’s tweet.

Jackson, who was a member of the Seahawks organization from 2017-2020, was released by the organization in August 2020 after it was discovered he sustained a spinal injury during a practice session earlier in the month.

“It’s a situation where (doctors) don’t recommend him to play this season. He came out of this episode really well, but the tests showed him he had a physical trait that they wanted to protect, so everyone was convinced it was best if he didn’t play this year.

I don’t know if this is forever, but I know for now. He’s not injured at the moment but he’s vulnerable – it’s similar to situations that some of our other guys have had in the past. We’re going to the side of long-term health and taking care of our boys.”

Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll on Jackson’s Injury (August 2020)

“Take care of our boys.” That comment now seems ridiculous given Jackson’s reaction to Wagner’s release and his own belief in what happened behind the scenes. If you factor in Sherman and Thomas, this seems more like a pattern than anything.

See also: Find out where the Seattle Seahawks rank among NFL teams

The situation surrounding Russell Wilson exacerbates the problems for the Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson
Rob Schumacher/The Republic/USA TODAY NETWORK

Immediately prior to Seattle’s decision to trade Wilson, Carroll told the media that a deal was not in sight.

“It’s common for us to have conversations with teams about all players, marquee players in particular. That hasn’t changed. It was the same every year. It is the same.

We have no intention of doing anything there. But he always has the conversations that John needs to have. But nothing concrete.”

Pete Carroll on Russell Wilson (March 2, 2022)

Less than a week later, Wilson was shipped to the Broncos in a blockbuster trade. While this would normally seem like a split between Carroll and Schneider, it’s more about Seattle’s brass playing its cards close to the vest in a public forum. A lot was different behind the scenes than what Carroll and company wanted to publicly admit.

Without Wilson in the mix, these Seahawks are mere bottom feeders in a division that includes two teams in the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams, which featured in last season’s NFC Championship game.

It’s been remarked all along that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has no desire to play for Pete Carroll in Seattle. So far, the mighty are just a few seasons away from being a top-end title contender in the NFC. And in reality, it speaks to the culture of the Pacific Northwest.

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