National Football League
Pete Carroll addresses report that Russell Wilson tried to have him fired
National Football League

Pete Carroll addresses report that Russell Wilson tried to have him fired

Updated Feb. 28, 2023 2:54 p.m. ET

Always positive, Pete Carroll took the high road.

When asked about a report last week that Russell Wilson tried to have him and general manager John Schneider fired before the Seattle Seahawks traded the veteran quarterback to the Denver Broncos last March, Carroll maintained support for his former player.

"I'm always going to hang with them, and I'm never going to leave them," Carroll said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "I'm going to be there at the end of all the good stuff and the bad stuff. I'm going to still be there. That's it. I'm hanging.

"It doesn't matter who the guy is. If you look at all of the guys that have come through our program — not only going back to our college days but here in Seattle — regardless of what has happened and has taken place or things that have been said and all, if you hang with them, it all comes back around. I'd like to demonstrate that faith in the relationship and the depth of what we did together, and hang through whatever the growth challenges bring to us along the way. So I'm good."


According to a report by The Athletic, during his waning time with Seattle, Wilson went to ownership in an attempt to get Carroll and Schneider axed. According to the report, Wilson wanted Carroll replaced with Sean Payton, his new coach with the Broncos.

The Seahawks declined to comment publicly on the report. An attorney for Wilson wrote in a letter to The Athletic that the report of the quarterback going to ownership to get Schneider and Carroll fired was "entirely fabricated." Wilson also denied in a tweet that he wanted the coach and GM fired.

"I love Pete and he was a father figure to me and John believed in me and drafted me as well," Wilson tweeted soon after the story was published. "I never wanted them fired. All any of us wanted was to win. l'll always have respect for them and love for Seattle."

Wilson went on to have the worst season of his 11-year career in Denver after signing a $245 million extension, with career-lows in completion percentage (60.5), passing touchdowns (16) and passer rating (84.4). He was sacked a career-high 55 times. The Broncos finished last in the NFL in points per game (16.9) and third-down conversions (29.1%). 

Geno Smith took over for Wilson in Seattle and had his best season as a pro, earning Pro Bowl and Comeback Player of the Year honors. Smith is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March, but Carroll said talks between the Seahawks and Smith's representation are progressing.

Even if Smith returns, however, Carroll did not rule out the possibility of Seattle drafting a quarterback in the first round. The Seahawks have two picks in the first round, including one from the Broncos received in the trade for Wilson at No. 5, and the team's original selection at No. 20.

The Seahawks have not selected a quarterback in the first round during Carroll and Schneider's tenure, which started in 2010. The last time Seattle selected a quarterback in the first round was 1993, taking Notre Dame product Rick Mirer at No. 2 overall.

That last time the Seahawks drafted in the top five was 2009, when Seattle selected Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. 

"We are totally connected to the quarterbacks that are coming out," Carroll said. "This is a really huge opportunity for us, a rare opportunity. We've been drafting in the low 20s for a long time. You just don't get the chance at these guys."

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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