When the Seattle Seahawks drafted linebacker Jordyn Brooks in the 2020 NFL Draft in April, all signs pointed to K.J. Wright’s 10-year tenure ending at the conclusion of the season.
Wright was fresh off a surgically repaired shoulder surgery and questions loomed about the 31-year-old’s health heading into the season. But after Seattle’s playoff run to the Super Bowl ended precipitously in the Wild Card Round with a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Wright reflected on a season of proving his doubters wrong.
“This season was everything I hoped it would be,” Wright said during Sunday’s exit interviews. “Just my 10th year with Seattle, I was ballin. Lookin’ good, making plays all over the field. It felt really, really good because a lot of people counted me out. People doubted that I could do it, and I proved to myself how good I am...
I proved to the world how good I am.
- K.J. Wright
Wright, the Seahawks' longest-tenured player, put together one of the best seasons of his NFL career. The fourth-round pick by Seattle in 2011 recorded 82 tackles (56 solo), two sacks, one interception, and tied Jamal Adams with a team-high 11 tackles for loss in 2020.
Wright has now completed the final year of his two-year, $14 million deal he signed in spring 2019, and is set to hit a potential finish line in Seattle if the team doesn’t bring him back.
He hasn’t closed the door on a possible return to the Seahawks roster in 2021.
“That’s up to Pete and John,” Wright said. “They know how much I mean to this team. They know that I’m a baller. They know I’m a great teammate, a great leader. It would be great investment, in my opinion, if they invest in K.J. and to bring him back in the building.”
While Wright is set to hit free agency, his teammate Bobby Wagner has been very vocal about the Seahawks’ need to bring Wright back. If they do, the veteran linebackers would enter their tenth season together.
“I think he had a pretty crazy injury and then to come back and have one of his best seasons, and then to play even better the following year, with his position change and things like that, I think it just shows his versatility, it shows how smart he is,” Wagner said. “It shows how much he cares about everybody in the building, and he’s just a great person, a great leader and definitely feel like he’s somebody that needs to be back next year...
I look forward to seeing him back.
- Bobby Wagner on K.J. Wright
Wagner noted Wright’s effortless transition to the SAM position after linebacker Bruce Irvin suffered a season-ending ACL injury in September. The move paid big dividends for the Seahawks this season and could very well pay off for another NFL team as Wright becomes an unrestricted free agent.
“Man, I can play wherever,” Wright said. “I can play MIKE, SAM and WIL, so I’ve proven to the league how versatile I am. I can play off the ball, on the ball, all three downs, the whole game, so wherever a team needs me, I can play wherever.”
When asked if he was open to playing for another team next season, Wright smirked and the word “yes” came out of his mouth.
While his future in Seattle remains murky, it’s obvious Wright wants to play and end his career with the Seahawks. But the choice isn’t in his hands.
"I love this city. I love this team, and so just make it happen."