NFC West Reporter
Russell Wilson being Russell Wilson.
That’s the highlight of The Athletic’s report Friday that during his stint with the Seattle Seahawks, Wilson took ownership of trying to get general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll fired . According to the report, Wilson wanted to replace Carroll with Sean Payton, his new coach with the Denver Broncos.
The Seahawks declined to comment publicly on the report. A lawyer for Wilson wrote in a letter to The Athletic that the report of the quarterback who became owner firing Schneider and Carroll was “completely fabricated.” Wilson also denied in a tweet that he wanted to fire the coach and GM.
However, during his final years in Seattle, Wilson had expressed growing frustration that Carroll wasn’t opening up the offense enough to his liking, leading to the firing of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
A month after Wilson’s reported request, the Seahawks sent him to the Broncos in a blockbuster trade last March, receiving two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick and three players : Quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah. Fan and defensive line Shelby Harris.
“That was a big event to happen,” Schneider told FOX Sports in November when asked about Wilson’s departure. “Having spent it in Green Bay with Brett [Favre], that helped a lot in terms of confidence. Obviously, we didn’t have Aaron Rodgers sitting in the garage ready to go. But that was a huge phase. … I just felt the whole organization did a great job.”
Seattle went with starter Geno Smith to replace Wilson, and the Seahawks stunned NFL observers by finishing 9-8 and making the postseason. Smith started every game, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl and the league’s Player of the Year award.
In Denver, Wilson was treated like a rock star, getting his own second-floor office for his personal quarterback trainer, nutritionist and therapist.
The result? The nine-time Pro Bowler had his worst season as a pro after earning a $245 million extension, posting career lows in completion percentage (60.5), passing touchdowns (16) and scoring of passengers (84.4). Wilson 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%).
With former New Orleans Saints coach Payton now on board, the Broncos’ hope is that the 2010 Super Bowl champion can fix Wilson, coax the Wisconsin product to play like the quarterback Drew Brees loved.
Wilson and Payton seemed very friendly at dinner during Super Bowl week.
However, it appears that Payton will be willing to take the reins out of Wilson’s grasp at the Denver facility and hold the veteran quarterback accountable for his mistakes on the field.
“That’s strange to me,” Payton said during his introductory press conference when asked if Wilson had his own staff in the building. “That’s not going to happen here. I don’t know about that, but our squad will be here, our players will be here and that’s how it will be.”
Wilson tried to assert his control in Seattle without success. And while he seemed to get what he wanted in Denver early on, that control didn’t lend itself to winning.
And with a new head coach and ownership in the Mile High City, it looks like Wilson will return to the role he had in Seattle as one of the key members of an organization that is led by a strong leader on the sidelines.
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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