clearn.png
Thursday March 4th, 2021 8:18PM

KJ Wright set for start of 10th season with Seahawks

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — K.J. Wright might be one of the biggest surprises in Seattle’s starting lineup for Sunday’s opener against Atlanta, which is saying something considering he’s currently the longest-tenured Seahawks player and about to begin his 10th NFL season.

But this was an offseason of challenges for Wright.

At 31 years old and entering the final year of a two-year contract and costing $10 million against the salary cap, the Seahawks could have decided to move on from Wright.

On top of that, Wright had shoulder surgery during the offseason that initially created doubts about whether he’d be ready for the start of the year.

And the capper: the Seahawks actually drafted in the first-round in April and selected what appeared to be Wright’s heir apparent in linebacker Jordyn Brooks.

Despite that, Wright is still expected to be in his normal spot alongside Bobby Wagner starting at weakside linebacker.

“I just knew that when I am healthy, I’m one of the best,” Wright said. “And so when they (drafted Brooks) that’s the decision the organization wanted to go in, that was their choice. But I know that when I’m on the field, I got to do my thing as usual.”

Wright is one of just a handful of players still around Seattle's roster from its Super Bowl winning team in 2013. He’s been a stalwart through all the various versions of Seattle’s defense and filled multiple linebacker roles during his time.

But recent years have been filled with questions about how much longer he might be part of Seattle’s plans. He was a free agent after the 2018 season — a season when he was limited to just five games due to injuries — and briefly considered leaving before being offered the chance to return on a two-year deal.

Wright showed Seattle made the right move in bringing him back. His 2019 season was full of career bests — 132 tackles, three interceptions and 11 passes defensed — although the defense as a whole took a step back.

“K.J. is just a dream to coach. He’s been such a great team guy, such a consistently competitive guy, such a smart player. And he’s so gracious with other players, the younger guys, the way he mentors them along,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s tough, he’s physical and he had arguably his best year last year. ... Really, he’s been one of my all-time favorites.”

Even after having such a productive season, the questions about whether Wright would be in Seattle for his 10th year began immediately. They were mostly due to the large salary cap number attached to his contract, but became amplified when it was learned he had shoulder surgery.

Wright said he should have undergone the surgery immediately after the season but was stubborn and waited until March. The initial prognosis had Wright likely missing the first month of the season. The rehab timeline may have also played into the decision to draft Brooks.

But Wright was diligent in his rehab even while NFL facilities were shut down. When Seattle reported for its physicals, Wright was cleared for immediate participation. While there weren’t preseason games, Wright’s performance during training camp gave no indications he’s slowing down.

“Just being on this team is special because obviously we know it’s not like this everywhere. I’ve heard some horror stories of other teams and for me to be here for 10 years and to be happy, to be playing and balling, I couldn’t be more thankful and grateful,” Wright said. “So we still got work to do. Year 10, we got to make this the best out of all of them.”

NOTES: Carroll said Friday that special teams coordinator Brian Schneider has left the team indefinitely for personal reasons but did not elaborate. Larry Izzo will take over. ... OL Cedric Ogbuehi (pectoral) is the only player listed as out for Sunday. WR Phillip Dorsett (foot) is questionable.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge: Voters can't abolish embattled GA police department
A Georgia judge says voters can’t try to abolish an embattled Georgia police department that was wrapped in controversy even before the department oversaw the initial investigation into the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
6:39PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Chiefs, Texans booed as racial justice stand sparks outrage
The NFL’s new stance encouraging players to take a stand against racial injustice got its first test as some fans of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs booed during a moment of silence to promote the cause, touching off a fresh debate on how players should use their voice
6:25PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Judges: Florida felons can't vote until they pay fines, fees
A federal appeals court has ruled that Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote
5:52PM ( 1 hour ago )
Phils setback: Zack Wheeler rips nail putting on his pants
Undefeated Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler ripped a fingernail putting on his pants, delaying his next start for two days and perhaps longer
5:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
Hamlin seeks to regain mojo at Richmond in home track race
Denny Hamlin once held a clear advantage over his rivals at home track Richmond Raceway
5:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Little Richard song to introduce 'Monday Night Football'
ESPN is switching from country to rock for their “Monday Night Football” theme song
2:49PM ( 4 hours ago )
Gurley ready to prove he's 100 percent healthy for Falcons
Falcons running back Todd Gurley believes he and his new team are a perfect match as he seeks to rejuvenate a career affected by knee injuries
1:14PM ( 5 hours ago )
QB Bridgewater 'thankful' for injury, eager for 2nd chance
On the four-year anniversary of suffering a torn ACL and fractured kneecap which left his budding NFL career in serious doubt, Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater took time for a moment of reflection, offering thanks to the day he got hurt
12:55PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Parking deck collapse in Atlanta leaves six workers injured
A section of concrete collapsed on a parking deck under construction in Atlanta, injuring five workers
5:55PM ( 1 hour ago )
Attorneys deny racial motive in Ahmaud Arbery slaying
Attorneys for the white father and son charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery say their clients weren't motivated by race when they armed themselves and chased after the young Black man
5:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
Challenger to QAnon supporter bows out of race in Georgia
The Democratic opponent to a QAnon-supporting candidate for a U.S. House seat in Georgia is dropping out of the race
5:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
The Latest: Texans lead Chiefs 7-0 in NFL opener
David Johnson ran 19 yards for a touchdown to give the Houston Texans a 7-0 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs after the first quarter in the opening game of the NFL season
9:08PM ( 21 hours ago )
The Latest: Texans remain in locker room for national anthem
The Houston Texans remained in their locker room during the national anthem before their opener against the Kansas City Chiefs in a coordinated display meant to bring awareness to Black Lives Matter and other social justice initiatives
8:29PM ( 22 hours ago )
Newton feeling thankful, not pressure taking over as Pats QB
Cam Newton says he isn’t feeling pressure as he prepares to succeed Tom Brady as the new Patriots starting quarterback
8:21PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Judge: Voters can't abolish embattled GA police department
A Georgia judge says voters can’t try to abolish an embattled Georgia police department that was wrapped in controversy even before the department oversaw the initial investigation into the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
6:39PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Chiefs, Texans booed as racial justice stand sparks outrage
The NFL’s new stance encouraging players to take a stand against racial injustice got its first test as some fans of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs booed during a moment of silence to promote the cause, touching off a fresh debate on how players should use their voice
6:25PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Images of 9/11 attack, porn interrupt voting machine hearing
A federal court hearing on a challenge to Georgia’s voting machines was interrupted when someone began posting video and symbols in the live Zoom session
6:20PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Houston chief: Officers ignored training in fatal shooting
Law enforcement and mental health experts say the April shooting death by Houston police of a man who was in the midst of a mental health crisis highlights the problems with having officers being the only ones who respond in such situations
6:15PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Prosecutor looking into the origins of Russia probe resigns
A federal prosecutor who was helping lead the investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe has resigned from the Justice Department
6:11PM ( 48 minutes ago )