Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Seattle Seahawks center-back Russell Wilson (3) celebrate after the game.  The Seattle Seahawks played the Minnesota Vikings in an NFL football game at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash., On Monday, December 2, 2019.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Seattle Seahawks center-back Russell Wilson (3) celebrate after the game. The Seattle Seahawks played the Minnesota Vikings in an NFL football game at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash., On Monday, December 2, 2019.

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For those who watch it from the outside, the only thing we should be grateful for for this stuffy Seahawks season is just seven games left in it.

However, Seahawks players and coaches say they are grateful for this holiday for much more than it looks – and, let’s face it, 3-7 does not look good on the eyes at all.

“Yes, man. It’s Thanksgiving week, man. You better be grateful for something, man,” said defender Ryan Neal. “Shoot, it’s as quiet as a church mouse here.”

Then again, being in last place this time of year tends to dampen enthusiasm.

However, Pete Carroll is grateful for the most important relationship regarding the Seahawks beyond this seemingly lost 2021: that of coach with Russell Wilson.

“The best it has ever been, so far,” Carroll said Wednesday, five days before Seattle tries to win just a second time in seven games Monday night in Washington (4-6).

The 70-year-old coach says his relationship with his 32-year-old franchise center-back was strengthened this past season. This happened after Wilson declared his disappointment for over-hitting behind his offensive line, then the centerpiece of a soap opera that lasted through the spring. He included his agent who told ESPN the four teams with which Wilson would approve a trade if the Seahawks did not exchange it.

They did not. And they do not.

“We’ve been closer because of everything that happened during the off-season we spent and the time we spent together,” Carroll said Wednesday. “It simply came to our notice then.

“It’s natural to spend so much time and work together growing up together. I am grateful for that. I am grateful for his relationship and help. “

Wilson has never had a calendar year like this.

After Carroll fired Brian Schottenheimer in January in a move Wilson did not support, then off-season drama, Wilson had to learn a new offense and play for the first time with Shane Waldron who arrived. Just as Wilson was settling into those schemes, he tore a tendon, shifted and broke bones in the middle finger of his throwing hand on Oct. 7 in Seattle’s loss to the Rams. He missed the first three games of his 10-year career. Injury and surgery on his right hand ended his 165-game winning streak, the sixth longest in NFL history.

He returned in just over a month, about half the time the surgeon estimated he could lose. In his first game back, Wilson’s passes and decisions were shaky and he threw two interceptions in the final area and closed for the first time in his career, 17-0 at Green Bay.

Last weekend he again struggled with long passes and elections. Arizona, without Kyler Murray, beat him and the Seahawks 23-13.

He is a 35% passer in the third drop this season, the problem area for the Seattle attack. The Seahawks are in 30th place in the NFL in terms of third-tier conversations, just 32.4%. Only Detroit without a win and Jacksonville with two wins have been worse.

“He just went through one of the toughest things he’s ever faced in his career,” Carroll said of Wilson and his injury. “(It was fun) to go through it step by step every day and stay in touch. To see him tackling him and all that and now he’s ready to go – I’m a little irritated that we didn’t jump back to a high level – but we tend to go back.

“We look forward to it.”

Carroll last year signed an extension with the Seahawks to lead them and be their main football authority until 2025. Does this first start 3-7 in a season since 2011, his second by completely repairing the franchise in a Super Bowl champion that has been in playoff eight of the last nine years, change the coach’s confidence in which direction the team is heading and how it is built for the coming seasons?

“Nothing but just squeeze and keep grinding and keep going,” Carroll said. “This is what is clear, because this is what is in hand now. At this time of year, in any season, I am not thinking about the road, the future, or anything like that. This is not at all in my mind. It’s really just the next day we have and the opportunity we have in that game that weekend.

“I am trying to live it so that I can demonstrate this to our boys and be a good example and illustration for it. There is really no room for this (future conversations).

More specifically on Wilson’s point and whether he would like to stay with Seattle after this season: Carroll was asked if he worries about how the Seahawks 3-7 could affect the $ 140 million center-back, who is under contract until 2023, and Wilson’s desire to stay with the team.

“I’m looking at how a 7-0 conclusion will affect all of us, more,” Carroll said.

On Sunday, after his last day underestimating the Seahawks’ home loss to the Cardinals, Wilson was asked the same question: Given how frustrated you were in the off-season and how you expressed that, how does the 3-7 start affect in your future. Seattle beyond 2021?

“It does not affect any of my thoughts at all,” Wilson said. “All I think about now is what we are going to do and how we are going to do it.

“I love this team. I love this organization. I like being here.

“As I said, I like challenges. I can hardly wait for it, where it will be a wonderful story.

“Go Hawks.”

This story was originally published 24 November 2021 16:20.

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Gregg Bell is a writer for the Seahawks and the NFL for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named Athlete of the Year in Washington state by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 when the Oakland Raiders defeated The Sacramento Bee writer. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a previous life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he could t ‘ask you to give up and give 10.

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