Pete Carroll downplays offseason Russell Wilson drama: 'We weren’t trading Russell'

Jason Owens
·3 min read

First, there was Russell Wilson's public airing of grievances

Then there was the report of a deeper divide between Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff.

Then there was Wilson's reported list of teams where he'd accept a trade.

Then came the report that the Seahawks were actually entertaining Wilson trade inquiries

Carroll addresses Wilson drama for first time

Through it all, Pete Carroll remained silent. Until now. After months of avoiding public commentary, the Seahawks head coach didn't have much of a choice on Wednesday as the team conducted a pre-draft news conference. Naturally, folks wanted to hear his thoughts on the Wilson drama. Carroll obliged.

His response was largely as expected from a head coach looking to downplay high-stakes turmoil in his locker room.

"Russ has been our quarterback for a good while, and we’ve got a long contract with him," Carroll told reporters. "And when all of the conversations went about trades and all that, I knew what the truth was. We weren’t trading Russell."

'It wasn't a problem'

Carroll didn't deny that the offseason tumult forced some tough conversations. But he chalked them up to a product of media creation rather than anything substantial in-house.

“It’s a media problem," Carroll said. "It wasn’t a problem for us because we knew the truth, and we were in conversation to talk about stuff. Because it’s in the media, there are things we need to address with other players and talk through stuff. That’s just a normal course."

Did Wilson clash with staff over strategy suggestions?

One of the flash points of Wilson's reported frustrations was illustrated in a February report from The Athletic. The seven-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion reportedly voiced strategy suggestions to Seattle's coaching staff ahead of a key division matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. 

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, right, talks with quarterback Russell Wilson, left, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Pete Carroll addressed the offseason Russell Wilson drama for the first time on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Seattle's once red-hot offense had cooled off, and Wilson had some ideas. According to the report, Carroll's staff dismissed them. Wilson responded by storming out of the room. 

Carroll addressed that report on Wednesday and denied that Wilson ever asked for extended influence over Seattle's offensive strategy.

"He has his opinions at times, and I’m fine with dealing with that, just like I was with other players that have been here in the past," Carroll said. "It’s not any different. But he never made a statement that he had to do that, he had to have more say so. That never happened. None of that happened.”

Did Seahawks field calls from Wilson suitors?

As for the report that Seattle was fielding calls from Wilson suitors? General manager John Schneider handled that one. He didn't deny that the calls happened. He did deny taking them seriously. 

“There was a number of teams that called after that media blitz that happened,” Schneider said. “But, no, I never actively negotiated with anybody, with any team. Now, did people call? Absolutely."

With a turbulent offseason turning the page forward on the eve of the NFL draft, Seahawks brass is taking the only prudent public strategy. Downplay the problems you can't deny and chalk up the rest as media creations. 

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