Russell Wilson apparently wanted Pete Carroll gone from the Seahawks well before the quarterback was traded to the Broncos last offseason, according to a new report.
The 34-year-old Wilson is said to have pushed for the firing of Seattle’s longtime head coach, The Athletic reported Friday, which alleges the nine-time Pro Bowler approached Seahawks ownership in February 2022 and asked for the termination of both Carroll and general manager John Schneider. The report also claims former Saints coach Sean Payton was the “preferred replacement” Wilson had “in mind.”
Wilson, who was traded to Denver a short time later while Carroll and Schneider remained with the Seahawks, refuted the allegations on Friday.
“I love Pete and he was a father figure to me and John believed in me and drafted me as well. I never wanted them fired. All any of us wanted was to win,” Wilson tweeted. “l’ll always have respect for them and love for Seattle.”
An attorney for Wilson also denied that he pushed for the firings, calling the claims “entirely fabricated” in a letter to The Athletic.
The deterioration of Wilson’s relationship with the Seahawks has been well-documented, with ESPN reporting in September how the organization had been looking at other options for the quarterback position for some time, including Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, before they were drafted by the Chiefs in 2017 and the Bills in 2018, respectively.
“They were f–king pissed,” a Seahawks’ front-office source remarked of Wilson’s camp.
Although Wilson had been the subject of trade rumors for years, he wasn’t officially moved until last March, joining first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett with the Broncos. Despite the hype surrounding the blockbuster trade — not to mention Wilson signing a five-year, $245 million extension before the season even began — Denver sputtered out of the gate and Hackett was fired after 15 games into his tenure.
Wilson, whose performance was heavily criticized throughout the year, shouldered some of the blame for Hackett’s firing, stating, “I wish I could have played better for him.”
The Broncos have since hired Payton to replace Hackett, with the Super Bowl champion coach already laying the groundwork for changes within the organization. Unlike last year, Wilson will not be able to bring his personal quarterback coach, Jake Heaps, or other outside personnel into the building.
“I’m not too familiar with that,” Payton previously said in regard to Heaps being in the team facility. “That’s foreign to me. That’s not gonna take place here. I’m unfamiliar with it, but our staff will be here, our players will be here and that will be it.”
The Broncos hired former Giants backup quarterback Davis Webb as their QBs coach earlier this week.