Tuesday, August 9, 2022

K.J. Wright retires: Longtime Seahawks LB signs one-day contract to retire with Seattle

Fighting back tears, K.J. Wright signed a one-day contract Wednesday to retire as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. The veteran linebacker spent all but one of his 11 NFL seasons with Seattle, helping the Seahawks win the franchise’s first title in 2013. 

Wright, who celebrated his 33rd birthday on July 23, started 140 games for Seattle from 2011-20. He returned to the franchise Wednesday after spending the 2021 season — his last in the league — with the Las Vegas Raiders

The Seahawks made the playoffs in eight of Wright’s 10 seasons with the team. Seattle also won four division titles, two conference titles and Super Bowl XLVIII over that span. The Seahawks defense enjoyed an historic run of dominance during that stretch, becoming the first unit in the Super Bowl era to pace the league in scoring defense four consecutive years. In Super Bowl XLVIII, Wright and his defensive teammates limited Peyton Manning and the Broncos high-scoring offense to just one touchdown in a 43-8 romp. 

“K.J. Wright has been an incredible Seahawk and been an incredible man in the community as well,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last year after Wright signed with the Raiders, via the team’s website. “There aren’t enough words to talk about the kind of person that he is, the wonderful contributor he has been to the program for 10 years. We had a blast together. I love K.J… K.J. will always be a Seahawk.”

The 99th-overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Wright tallied 941 tackles, 11 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, six interceptions, 54 passes defensed and 13.5 sacks during his decade in Seattle. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 2016 after racking up 126 tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. 

Wright’s final year in Seattle was a notable one. While injuries to teammates forced him to switch positions, Wright continued to fill the stat sheet. He finished the year with 86 tackles, two sacks (his first sacks since the 2016 season), an interception, 10 passes defensed, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. 

Wright is third in franchise history in career tackles and tackles for loss, and is tied for third in franchise history in career forced fumbles. He’s also seventh in franchise history in career pass breakups. 

“It’s amazing,” Wright said of his career during the 2020 season. “I’ve accomplished way, way more than I thought I ever could. When I first came here, I just wanted to play football, but you start playing football, and all these different opportunities start opening up for you, so it’s just been amazing. I’ve done everything I could for this city, and I plan to continue to post-football. I just want to be great in the community, help people and be around football.

“It’s meant everything. I believe I put together a Ring-of-Honor resume with my play, how I’ve helped in the community, helped bring the team a Super Bowl. The legacy is pretty cool. I’m thankful for every play that I’ve played.”

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