ESPN says the Seattle Seahawks are a mess and that Richard Sherman and the Seahawks’ vaunted defense are at odds with with their head coach and offense, most notably regarding quarterback Russell Wilson.
An explosive report by Seth Wickersham published by ESPN on Thursday set a troubling picture for a Seahawks team just two years removed from back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. In fact, it was their traumatic last-second loss to the New England Patriots that apparently set the Seahawks askew.
The story indicated in more ways than one that the Seahawks defense is not a fan of the team’s quarterback. In fact, the defense is said to resent the quarterback and his struggles since the Super Bowl.
It seems to go beyond the normal jealousy aimed at most star quarterbacks. Teammates privately seem to want him exposed, but ask them why, or on what grounds, and their reasons vary. A man who vowed to live in transparency — Wilson famously announced that he was refraining from premarital sex with his then-girlfriend, Ciara — required guests to sign nondisclosure agreements before entering his box at Mariners games. After the Super Bowl against Denver, team management “fell in love with Russell,” in the words of a former high-level staffer; defensive players would see him in executives’ offices and wonder, “Why not me?” Pettiness grew. In 2014, Bleacher Report reported that some black teammates “think Wilson isn’t black enough.” Every Christmas, Wilson gives each player two first-class tickets on Alaska Airlines, one of his endorsements. “It didn’t cost him anything,” one Seahawk told an assistant coach last year. “Big deal.”
Pete Carroll’s infamous decision to pass at the goal line of Super Bowl was just the start of the resentment, according to the story.
Sherman and the defense know the difference between very good quarterbacks and great ones. They see how Wilson, only 5-11, struggles to anticipate open windows; they see the offensive staff breaking down film of the Saints’ offense to figure out ways to deploy tight end Jimmy Graham, an All-Pro in New Orleans and a highly paid, ineffective red zone weapon in Seattle. It galls the defense to hear Wilson, ever positive, stand behind a podium and insist that the offense “made some great plays” after games in which the Seahawks barely score — and then be propped up as if he were Aaron Rodgers.
“Guys want Pete to call out Russ in front of the team,” Smith says. “That’s not what Pete does. Pete will single out a guy, but he does it the right way.”
The whole thing reads like a feud is brewing between two sides of the same team, fueled by a combination of frustration and jealousy. It was, however, quickly denied by some on the Seahawks. Namely, star defensive end Michael Bennett took to Twitter after the story broke to deny its contents.
He also publicly supported his quarterback and said they are even friends in real life.
Sherman, meanwhile, is tweeting throwback Thursday photos and promoting his celebrity softball game. So maybe he’s not too concerned about the reports. It’s a troubling report whether you believe it or not. Either someone wants to paint the Seahawks as a disaster waiting to happen, or they actually are one.