It’s been a week of emotional goodbyes for the Seattle Seahawks. Just before the start of training camp, the team released running back Chris Carson after Carson was unable to pass a physical. Carson’s retirement due to his neck injury isn’t official but it is expected, and the team gave him a proper tribute.
Then midweek, the Seahawks signed linebacker K.J. Wright to a one-day contract so that he could retire as a member of the team he played ten of his eleven seasons for. In a tearful press conference filled with coaches, family, and friends, Wright made his retirement official.
“This is a really special day for me to see you all here,” Wright said (via Seahawks.com). “The people I love, the people that helped me get to this point, my teammates, my parents, my wife and kids, it’s a beautiful day, man, and I’m so thankful that I laid it all out on the football field. And you’re all truly a blessing in my life. So I’m here to announce that, after 11 fantastic seasons, that I’m retiring from the NFL.
“I fell in love with this game as a young kid just playing football in my grandma’s front yard with my friends and my cousins, and here I am standing in front of y’all as a Super Bowl champ, a Pro-Bowler and Seahawks Man of the Year.”
The 2016 Pro Bowl selection ranks third all-time in Seahawks history in tackles, and alongside the more heralded Bobby Wagner formed one of the league’s best linebacker duos for a decade. After playing the 2021 season with the Las Vegas Raiders, Wright indicated that if he didn’t play for the Seahawks again he would retire. Sure enough, he did return to the Seahawks, but to hang up the cleats once and for all.
K.J. thanked everyone from Pete Carroll to Ken Norton Jr to his parents to assistant trainer C.J. Neumann (who helped him with rehabbing his injured shoulder before the 2020 season), but he left the final thanks to the fans and the city of Seattle.
“To the city of Seattle and to the 12s, coming from Mississippi to Seattle, I was in a culture shock,” he said. “I honestly thought I had landed in a different country. But when I got here y’all embraced me since day one. I played in every NFL stadium and there’s no place like Lumen Field. The energy you guys bring, the passion you guys brought every game made it so much fun to play here. And my favorite memory of you guys was the Super Bowl parade. To see those smiles, see those tears, it meant the world to me. And you guys earned the right to call yourself champions, and I’m so thankful that I could bring it to you guys. This day is so special. I can sleep good at night knowing I laid it all on the football field. I created lifelong friends lifelong memories, and to everybody in this building, I truly, truly thank you all for being here. I love you all dearly.”
Wright hopes to be a part of the organization in some form (just not in coaching, as much as that’s been brought up), and we sure hope that the Seahawks find a spot for him.
“I want to take this fall to enjoy life, to enjoy myself and enjoy my family,” he said. “I know at the end of the day, when I do get ready, I want to come and serve this organization. Not in coaching, but I want to serve this organization. I know I have a special niche for bringing people together, finding talent and just building something special. This place is so special, and I’ve seen it all and I’ve done it all and I know what it looks like. And I would love to come and serve this organization in whatever form or fashion they’d have me in.”
You can expect to see K.J. at Seahawks home games, and I know that there will be a day where he gets to hoist the 12 Flag at Lumen Field.
Watch the full video below: (stream starts at about 12:23 in)
LIVE: Tune in to hear from @KJ_WRIGHT34 during his retirement press conference. #ThankYouKJ https://t.co/iKvq1jyhVj— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) July 28, 2022