Bobby Wagner has only played for one team and one head coach since the Seahawks drafted him in 2012, but the veteran linebacker knows enough people around the league to understand how good of a situation he and his teammates have in Seattle.
And while winning a lot of games and going to the playoffs almost every year has a lot to do with player happiness, so too does the culture Pete Carroll has created in Seattle since taking over as head coach in 2010. So when Carroll signed a contract extension on Monday that runs through the 2021 season, his players were understandably happy about that news.
"I'm excited for him," Wagner said. "He earned it. It's crazy, everybody was kind of doubting him at one time and you know how he is. He loves doubters and he loves proving people wrong. It was great to see him get extended, I think it's well deserved. He's an amazing coach, he's an even better person. He's a coach that I honestly feel cares about football, but cares about the person too. He wants to see you do good whenever you decide to hang your cleats up. Personally, I haven't had any other coaches, but just from stories, it's not like that anywhere else. A person who actually cares about making sure you are just as successful off the field as you are on the field and wanting you to learn and get as much from the game as you possibly can. I think he deserves everything he's getting."
Wagner's longtime teammate and fellow linebacker K.J. Wright has played for Carroll since 2011, making him the longest-tenured player on the 53-man roster along with receiver Doug Baldwin—safety Earl Thomas, a 2010 first-round pick, is on injured reserve. And Wright too was excited to hear that the only head coach he has known in the NFL will stick around.
"I was happy," Wright said. "He's one of the best in the league, and he's really good for this city, really good for this team, and guys love playing for him. He earned it, and I'm happy for him."
As Wagner noted, the Seahawks have exceeded a lot of people's expectations this season following a significant amount of offseason roster turnover, which is why Baldwin said following Sunday's playoff-clinching win, "I would put this up there as one of his best years coaching, without a doubt. All the news faces, all the new coaches, the new guys, really just figuring out how best to utilize them so that we can be successful on the football field and perform at a high level, it's incredible. Now he's not going to get all the credit, because we do have an offensive coordinator and a defensive coordinator and all the position coaches who work their tails off too. It's a full team effort, for sure, but I will say that I think Pete has done a fantastic job this year."
Left tackle Duane Brown has only played for Carroll for a year and a half, but he already understands what Wagner talked about when it comes to caring about the person and not just the athlete.
"He's a great coach who really, really cares about us as players, but also cares about us as men," Brown said. "He takes care of us. This year is a testament to how great of a coach he is. To have so many young players, so many unproven players step in and play pivotal roles and help us get into the playoffs, he's a great leader. When I saw that news, I was extremely happy."
Added center Justin Britt, who has played for Carroll and the Seahawks since 2014, "I love what Coach Pete brings every day, the energy he brings, the atmosphere, the whole thing. It's great news for us that he's sticking around even longer."
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 16 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.