K.J. Wright, who will go down as an all-time great Seahawk, will continue his career in Las Vegas, having signed with the Raiders on Monday.
Wright, one of the best and most well-respected defensive players to wear a Seahawks uniform, came to Seattle as a fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State in 2011, quickly won a starting job as a rookie and never looked back. Over 10 seasons with the Seahawks, Wright amassed 934 tackles, third most in team history behind Bobby Wagner and Eugene Robinson, earned Pro-Bowl honors in 2016, and played at a Pro-Bowl level in plenty of other seasons, including last year.
Wright's time in Seattle also coincided with the most successful stretch in franchise history, with the Seahawks making the playoffs in eight of his 10 seasons, winning four division titles, two NFC championships and one Super Bowl. Seattle's defense was one of the best in NFL history in 2013, and from 2012-2015 the Seahawks led the NFL in scoring defense for four straight seasons, making them the only team to accomplish that in the Super Bowl era.
Reflecting on his 10 seasons in Seattle, Wright said earlier this offseason, "It's amazing. I've accomplished way, way more than I thought I ever could. When I first came here, I just wanted to play football, but you start playing football, and all these different opportunities start opening up for you, so it's just been amazing. I've done everything I could for this city, and I plan to continue to post-football. I just want to be great in the community, help people and be around football.
"It's meant everything. I believe I put together a Ring-of-Honor resume with my play, how I've helped in the community, helped bring the team a Super Bowl. The legacy is pretty cool. I'm thankful for every play that I've played."
Wright's 10th season saw him play some of the best football of his career following an early-season move from his usual weakside linebacker spot to strongside linebacker. It wasn't necessarily a move Wright wanted to make following Bruce Irvin's season-ending injury, but he embraced it anyway because it was the best thing for the team because it allowed rookie Jordyn Brooks to get on the field at weakside linebacker. The way Wright embraced that move despite preferring the weakside spot led to Carroll calling him a "perfect teammate," and the move did nothing to slow Wright down. In addition to piling up 86 tackles, Wright also had 11 tackles for loss and 10 passes defensed, making him the only player in the NFL to have double-digit totals in both of those categories.
And as good as Wright has been on Sundays, his on-field play is only a part of his legacy with the Seahawks and in the community. After traveling to Kenya then raising money to build fresh-water wells, Wright was named the team's nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2018; he has also been active in the community locally on a number of fronts, including stepping up to support other teammates' causes throughout his career, including a trip to Haiti with Cliff Avril to help build a school; and in 2020 he won the Steve Largent Award, one of the team's most prestigious honors. Most recently, Wright was named the Seattle Sports Star of the Year for men's sports at the 86th annual Seattle Sports Star of the Year Award.
"He's meant everything, not only to the team, the community—he does a lot of charity work, a lot of work in the community—but then he's a guy who shares his knowledge with all the guys," said Wagner, who started alongside Wright for the past nine seasons. "Ten years of experience is a long time for somebody to have some knowledge, and he's a guy that offers that knowledge, and constantly has conversations with everybody, whether old guy, young guy, because he's a guy who truly wants to see everybody succeed and everybody provide for their family the best way possible. He means everything to our team, to the organization, to the community, to this football family."
Seahawks fans will be sad to see Wright move on to continue his career in another city, but he'll always be remembered in Seattle for his contributions on and off the field that will allow him to go down in history as a Seahawks great.
A look back at some of the best photos of Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright from the 2020 season.