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Pete Carroll Not Worried About Russell Wilson's Future, 'Looking Forward' to Second Half Run

After seven losses in 10 games, trade rumors have already started to swirl around Wilson with the Seahawks heading towards what could be a franchise-altering offseason. But for now, both the quarterback and his coach remain all-in on helping the team get back on track and aren't concerned about what's next.

Following a tumultuous offseason littered with trade rumors and endless questions about his future, Russell Wilson buried the hatchet with coach Pete Carroll in mid-June when the star quarterback arrived at the Seahawks organized team activities.

At the time, despite publicly airing his frustrations about poor pass protection and lack of involvement in personnel decisions among other things, Wilson seemed thrilled to still be in Seattle. He and Carroll said all of the right things heading into their 10th season together as a quarterback/coach tandem, with each eager for the chance to turn the page and once again compete for a championship. Both men also expressed excitement about working with new offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron, who Wilson played an important role in selecting as Brian Schottenheimer’s replacement.

Unfortunately, through the first 11 weeks of play, the 2021 season hasn’t unfolded as either Wilson or Carroll envisioned when setting the record straight with reporters five months ago. Losing five of their past six games, the Seahawks have plummeted into last place in the NFC West and at 3-7, only the Lions have a worse record in the conference. It’s just the second time since Carroll took the helm in 2010 where his team finds itself four games under the .500 mark.

As for Wilson, he suffered a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger in early October that required surgery and consequently missed three games on injured reserve. Since returning to action earlier this month, the eight-time Pro Bowler has been rendered ineffective leading a punch-less offense with no touchdown passes and two interceptions in back-to-back losses to Green Bay and Arizona.

With both the Seahawks and their quarterback struggling mightily and the playoffs all but out of the picture, speculation about Wilson’s future has once again become a hot topic. If a 12-4 season and division title warranted his agent revealing four potential trade destinations last spring, what will he do this time around considering the franchise’s current plight?

The answer? With seven games left to play, the reality is that it’s still too early to know how this upcoming offseason will play out, and Carroll and Wilson have side-stepped the topic when asked about how Seattle’s slow start could impact their respective futures.

“It doesn't impact any of my thoughts at all.” Wilson said following Sunday’s 23-13 loss to the Cardinals. “All I think about is right now what we're going to do and how we're going to do it. I love this team. I love this organization. I love being here."

Set to turn 33 next week, Wilson understands he’s entering a critical phase of his career. He wants to be vying for championships and though Seattle has made the playoffs in eight of his nine previous seasons, the team hasn’t advanced past the divisional round since 2014. Early postseason exits have become commonplace in recent years, including a 30-20 wild card loss to the Los Angeles Rams at home back in January.

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The lack of deep playoff runs has been a key ingredient in Wilson’s growing frustration with the organization. Lingering pass protection concerns haven’t gone away, as he has been sacked 20 times in seven games and been under frequent duress. His courtship with Waldron hasn’t gone as planned either, with Seattle currently ranked 25th in scoring offense despite having an abundance of talent at the skill positions.

But from Carroll's perspective, his relationship with the star quarterback has never been better, suggesting everything that transpired over a turbulent offseason actually strengthened the bond between them.

“The best it’s ever been by far," Carroll said on Wednesday. "We’ve been closer because of all that happened in the offseason we went through and the time we spent together. It’s as connected as it’s ever been. It’s a natural thing when you spend that much time and you’re working stuff together that you grow together. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for the relationship and helping him."

As difficult as things have been over the past two months with the Seahawks falling well below expectations, misfortune has played a significant role in that development. Wilson had never missed a game in his career before suffering his finger injury in a Week 5 defeat to the Rams and his absence put a strain on Waldron as a first-time NFL coordinator trying to scheme for a backup quarterback in Geno Smith.

One of the NFL's fiercest competitors, Wilson told reporters his initial timeline to return from a complex surgery was slated for six to eight weeks. But as soon as he could begin rehabbing, he attacked the process relentlessly, working with his therapist as many as 19 hours a day to stage a remarkable comeback. Just four weeks after surgery, he was activated to return to practice.

While the results haven't come yet on the field since Wilson re-entered the lineup, Carroll has no doubts a breakout performance will be coming in the near future. Once that happens, despite being 3-7 at the moment, both believe the Seahawks can turn things around over the final seven weeks, which could go a long way toward squashing the already rampant speculation about their respective futures.

"He just went through one of the most difficult things he’s ever faced in his career," Carroll remarked. "To make it through that one step at a time every day and stay in touch. To see him handle it and all that and now he’s ready to go. I’m a little bit frustrated that we didn’t jump back in at a high level, but we’re cranked to turn. Looking forward to it.”

Wilson agreed, saying, "I like the challenge. I'm looking forward to that. It's going to be a great story."

Needless to say, optimism continues to persist in Seattle. But if that turnover doesn't happen and the team can't find a way to end the season on a strong note, a repeat of last spring's drama could be inevitable in coming months and the rumor mill may be just getting started.