Longtime Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that even in the midst of unforeseen challenges he will always stick by players — even his former players like Russell Wilson.
“I’m always going to hang with them, and I’m never going to leave them. I’m going to be there at the end of all of the good stuff, all of the bad stuff,” Carroll said Tuesday when asked at the NFL combine about a report on Wilson calling for Carroll’s job.
Carroll added that going through adversity together can help foster a better player-coach relationship.
“It doesn’t matter who the guy is. … Regardless of what has happened or taken place or the things that have been said at all, if you hang with them, it all comes back around. I like to demonstrate that faith in the relationship and the depth of what we did together and hang through what growth challenges bring to us along the way.”
Last week, The Athletic reported that Wilson wanted Carroll and Seahawks general manager John Schneider fired a few weeks before Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos.
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At the time, Wilson reportedly wanted Seattle to replace Carroll with Sean Payton, who had stepped down at the time as head coach of the New Orleans Saints.
Wilson had one of worst performances of his career last season, completing just 60.5% of his passes while throwing just 16 touchdowns to 11 interceptions under head coach Nathaniel Hackett.
Hackett was fired 15 games into the season in his first year with the organization.
Wilson and Payton are now together in Denver after the Broncos hired the Super Bowl champion coach in early February.
Wilson waived his no-trade clause last March and signed a five-year, $245 million extension with the Broncos. Wilson reportedly chose Denver because he believed he would be in a position to compete for Super Bowls.
Wilson took to Twitter Feb. 24 to respond to the report.
“I love Pete and he was a father figure to me and John believed in me and drafted me as well,” Wilson said. “I never wanted them fired. All any of us wanted was to win. I’ll always have respect for them and love for Seattle.”
When asked about the report Tuesday, Carroll told The Athletic, “There’s nothing I’m commenting about that. Stuff is said, it’s always been said for years and guys come and go with their thoughts and emotions and all that. I ain’t worried.”
Carroll added that the reported situation involving Schneider was “water under the bridge.” He also praised Wilson’s work ethic and believes the quarterback will have a bounce back season in 2023.
“There’s never been a guy that’s more strong-minded and committed and convicted and all that. So he’s coming out this end of it. And it was a hard year, I’m sure. But I’m not worried about him figuring it out. He’ll come back.”