Nothing to see here, folks.
No problems. No tension. No issues to cloud your mind.
“Kumbaya” is the only song on the playlist when it comes to the Seahawks-Russell Wilson offseason drama. At least that’s what Seattle coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider said Wednesday.
Carroll assured reporters that his super-glued lips throughout this offseason were the result of him not wanting to fan the flames of a media-concocted fire. Schneider, meanwhile, denied engaging in anything that could even be perceived as negotiating when it came to Seattle’s star quarterback.
They’re saying it’s a non-story. Pure speculation from the scribes. And, hey, maybe that’s true.
But then again — why on earth would they say anything different?
Perhaps feeling sorry for a Seattle media corps grasping for stories in a sports-starved month, Wilson cranked the volume up to 11 in February when he told radio host Dan Patrick that he was “tired of getting hit too much,” and that he believed the Seahawks had fielded calls about his availability. Trade rumors followed after ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that the eight-time Pro Bowler would be open to landing with the Saints, Bears, Cowboys or Raiders. The Seahawks, meanwhile, were reportedly (and understandably) irked with Wilson airing his grievances, as Patrick said he was told “the current situation is not sustainable.”
Carroll’s response to all the hoopla? That what’s in print is a lot different than what’s in reality.
“When all of the conversation went about trades and all that — I knew what the truth was: We weren’t trading Russell. So we plan on him being here for a good, good while,” Carroll said. “Russ knows that. I know that. We’re very clear about it. That’s why it was really obvious that we just had to sit back and kind of let the media take its course with the topic. So we did.”
You’re not going to find a line about how Carroll is full of it in this space. It’s possible that quote is entirely accurate. Nobody beyond a few people in the Seahawks organization truly knows how frustrated Wilson was/is, or how close they may have been to trading him. But just about anyone who follows the Seahawks closely knows that Rule No. 1 is “always protect the team” — and Carroll rarely, if ever, violates it.
When Earl Thomas flipped off Carroll while being carted off the field after weeks of venting about his contract? Pete told the world how much he loved him. When Richard Sherman chided Carroll on the sideline for throwing the ball from the 1-yard line vs. the Rams, then dissed him publicly in the locker room afterward? Pete cast no aspersions.
Eleven-time NBA championship-winning coach Phil Jackson was famous for calling out players in the press and sometimes, as was the case with Kobe Bryant, in great detail in a book. Carroll? He’s like a bound James Bond being electro-tortured. You’re not going to get a word out of him if it might paint one of his players in a negative light.
There is one curious component to this Wilson saga, though. If this was never really an issue — if this story was, indeed, legless, then why didn’t Carroll say so as the media noise neared a crescendo? Why not, as one reporter asked Wednesday, put a pin in all the drama as it continued to escalate?
“There’s nothing to put a pin in. To me, as in the fact that there was a couple things that he said and he realized how volatile the simplest of responses are,” Carroll said. “It’s a tremendous illustration for us and for people in the media and people in sports, of how volatile — and particularly when you’re in that, that franchise player position, how volatile your words are, how powerful your words are and how careful you have to be.”
OK. A lot of words there. Just not sure there was an answer.
Look, there is no doubt that the media can run wild with speculation based on rumors from anonymous sources. And there is no doubt that feelings of contempt or frustration often wane over time as one gains perspective. But if you were to ask me if Carroll and Schneider were underselling Wilson’s demeanor and desires over the past couple months, I’d give you an emphatic yes.
Barring injury, Wilson will be the starting quarterback for the Seahawks in 2021. What happens beyond that will be a byproduct of this season’s results.
Very few people can do what Russell Wilson does between the lines. But there are a whole lot of us who can read between them.