Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson pushed to have Seahawks coach Pete Carroll fired prior to his departure from Seattle, according to a report Friday from The Athletic, another example of the tension that existed between Wilson and the team over his 10-year tenure.
According to the report, Wilson asked Seahawks ownership in February 2022 to fire Carroll and general manager John Schneider with hopes that the team would hire Sean Payton to be the new coach.
Instead, Wilson was traded to the Broncos in March for a haul that included multiple first- and second-round picks and quarterback Drew Lock, who served as the backup to Geno Smith as the Seahawks made the playoffs in 2022. The Broncos then gave Wilson a five-year, $245 million extension that included $165 million in guaranteed money.
But the Broncos stumbled to a 5-12 season in 2022 that led to the firing of first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett and bringing in Payton as his replacement.
A lawyer for Wilson denied that the quarterback called for Carroll’s and Schneider’s firing, describing the report as “entirely fabricated.” The Seahawks declined comment to The Athletic.
The Athletic also detailed issues with Wilson’s first season in Denver, with players, coaches and staff members questioning some of the control the quarterback had. Examples included weekly private meetings with the offense held by Wilson, an office for Wilson located away from his teammates, play suggestions from Wilson that Hackett would add to the game plan and personal staff members the quarterback was allowed to have in the team facility.
Payton appeared to stifle some of Wilson’s power earlier this month, when the coach said at his introductory news conference that Wilson’s personal quarterback coach, Jake Heaps, would no longer be in the Broncos’ facility.
“I’m not too familiar with that,” Payton said Feb. 6 when asked about Wilson having Heaps in the building with access this past season. “That’s foreign to me. That’s not going to take place. I’m unfamiliar with it. Our staff will be here, our players will be here, and that will be it.”
ESPN previously reported on the tense relationship between Wilson and the Seahawks, with sources describing a dysfunctional situation built towards its eventual breaking point.