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Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks sign K.J. Wright so he can retire with Seattle

Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright reacts after the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Nov. 24, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wright signed a one-day contract Wednesday to retire as a Seahawk.  (Tribune News Service)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

K.J. Wright, who said he always hoped he could retire as a Seahawk, is going to get his wish to come true.

The Seahawks on Wednesday signed Wright to a one-day NFL contract so he can stay on the roster for 24 hours and then retire as a Seahawk on Thursday. It’s anticipated Wright will hold a news conference to announce his retirement on Thursday.

This will end, in the fashion he always wanted, the career of one of the most productive and classiest players to ever put on a Seahawks uniform.

Wright officially signed his one-day contract at the team’s facility in Renton Wednesday morning, with family members in attendance, with a video from the team showing him breaking down with emotion as he did. As he finished, Wright told coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider “thank y’all” and then shook their hands.

Wright played 10 seasons and 144 regular-season games for Seattle from 2011-20, primarily at weakside linebacker, serving as one of the most vital members of the famed Legion of Boom defense that led the team to two Super Bowl appearances and the franchise’s only title following the 2013 season.

When he became a free agent following the 2020 season, Wright signed a one-year deal with the Raiders and played 17 games for Las Vegas.

Wright, who turned 33 on Saturday, said at several points during the offseason he hoped to keep playing.

But Wright also recently said if he couldn’t play for the Seahawks then he didn’t intend to play anymore in part because he didn’t want to be away from his family.

“I mean, I love ball,” Wright said in a recent interview on the “I Am Athlete Tonight” show on SiriusXM. “But I’m not willing to pick up and leave my family like I did last year. Because my family had to stay back. They didn’t come with me to Vegas. I’m not doing that again. And so I think it’s pretty well known where I stand at, how I want to end my career, going into my 12th season. If it’s not in Seattle, then I’ll be all good.”

Certainly, it was all good during his career, which began when he was taken with the 99th overall pick of the 2011 draft out of Mississippi State, the team famously giving him the call as he walked in his college graduation.

Wright, a native of Olive Branch, Mississippi, is third on Seattle’s all-time tackles list with 934 behind only his longtime teammate and good friend Bobby Wagner and Eugene Robinson. He also finishes with 15 playoff games for the Seahawks, third in team history behind the 16 of Wagner and quarterback Russell Wilson. And his 109 tackles in the playoffs is second in team history behind only the 153 of Wagner.

Wright teamed from 2012-20 with Wagner to give Seattle one of the best off-ball linebacking tandems in the NFL. But with the departures of Wright and Wagner over the past two years, Seattle is now set to go into the 2022 season with an inside linebacking duo of Jordyn Brooks – a first-round pick in 2020 – and Cody Barton, a third-rounder in 2019.

Wright was also the team’s 2018 NFL Man of the Year and in 2021 was named as the Seattle Male Sports Star of the Year by the Seattle Sports Commission.

And the next step is surely a spot in the team’s Ring of Honor, if not something more.

When he re-signed with Seattle in 2019 Wright said it allowed him to fulfill a goal of playing 10 years in the NFL.

“Let me tell you, when I first got drafted into the NFL (in 2011) I had one goal and that was to play 10 years,” Wright told SiriusXM in June. “I said, ‘Lord, if I get 10 years, I am very happy.’ And I hit that. I hit that with Seattle.”

And now he will end his career as he began it – as a Seahawk.