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In final radio show, Pete Carroll recounts reunion with Russell Wilson, other ex-players

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gets five from head coach Pete Carroll after tossing a touchdown pass to wide receiver DK Metcalf for a 21- 12 lead over the Atlanta Falcons during the third quarter on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020 in Atlanta.  (Tribune News Service)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

SEATTLE – Before jumping into a future of uncertainty Pete Carroll said he is “excited about,” he spent one more night Wednesday going down memory lane.

A few hours after holding a news conference at the Seahawks facility in Renton, Washington, to discuss the team’s announcement that he would no longer be the coach, Carroll convened with some former players – some from the 2023 team and many from previous years – at Legion Sports Bar in Bellevue. The bar’s owners include former Seahawks Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor.

Among those attending was former Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. It apparently is the first time Wilson reunited with Carroll and former Seahawks teammates since his trade to Denver in March 2022 other than some brief interaction before the Seahawks and Broncos played at Lumen Field that September.

Carroll talked about the night in an interview with Seattle Sports 710 AM that the station aired at 8 a.m. Friday. The details were revealed in a story on its website Thursday.

Invitations to the gathering were sent throughout the day to current and former players, with Seattle Sports 710 quoting Carroll as saying he wanted to see if “we can get the band back together” and that “guys just started showing up out of nowhere.”

Wilson, who was at his offseason home in the San Diego area following the conclusion of the season for the Denver Broncos, flew up to make a surprise appearance.

“Out of nowhere, Russ just hit the scene,” Carroll said. “They flew up from San Diego or something like that and surprised us, which just made it really fun.”

Wilson posted pictures of the night on the social media platform X, writing: “Grateful for you! Fun Celebrating you tonight and all the memories!”

Wilson posted a picture of a group of players standing with Carroll that included Sherman, Chancellor, Tyler Lockett, Bobby Wagner, Sidney Rice, Jermaine Kearse, DeShawn Shead and longtime Carroll assistant Carl “Tater” Smith.

“It was great to see all those guys,” Carroll said. “Great to see Russ.”

Carroll recounted to 710 seeing Sherman and Wilson – who had not been teammates since Sherman was released by Seattle in March 2018 – talking in the doorway as the night was ending.

“And they both looked at me (and) said, ‘Look what had to happen for you to get us two talking to one another and having fun,’ ” Carroll said. “It was a great moment.”

Carroll said during his news conference Wednesday that creating a culture in which players would feel tied to each other far after their playing careers would be one of his proudest accomplishments. As he said those words, Lockett, Wagner and quarterback Geno Smith were among those in the audience at the VMAC.

“To see some of our guys here today, it means the world,” Carroll said. “It means the world. I want to remind us about the work, tons of work, dedication. All that hard stuff that we do with coaches and players to get to where we can get to. But it’s really always been the fun. And Wags (Wagner), you’ve always been the guy that reminds us, ‘If you’re not doing it right, you’re not having any fun at all.’ And I appreciate you keeping me connected to that. It’s pretty inherent to me, too. We’re birds of a feather in that regard.

“Bobby, I appreciate you and T-Lock (Lockett) and Geno that have kept me connected to our former players. That’s a really important part of this relationship of being a coach, particularly in this program where we’ve been there for so long and so many souls have come through. Having you guys with me all the way through this time, and I always feel like I’m a little bit connected to those guys. And I don’t want to ever lose that connection, because I’m so indebted to the time we spent and all the things we did.”