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K. J. Wright
refer to caption
Wright with the Seattle Seahawks
No. 50 – Seattle Seahawks
Position:Outside linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1989-07-23) July 23, 1989 (age 30)
Olive Branch, Mississippi
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:246 lb (112 kg)
Career information
High school:Olive Branch
(Olive Branch, Mississippi)
College:Mississippi State
NFL Draft:2011 / Round: 4 / Pick: 99
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 6, 2019
Total tackles:771
Forced fumbles:10
Fumble recoveries:7
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Kenneth Bernard Wright, Jr. (born July 23, 1989) is an American football linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.[1] He played college football at Mississippi State.

High school career

Wright attended Olive Branch High School in Olive Branch, Mississippi, where he was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and track. He was named first-team, all-state on the defensive line by The Clarion-Ledger. He recorded 91 total tackles during his senior season in which 48 of them were solo tackles. He was listed as the number 19 prospect in Mississippi following his senior season according to[2] He was awarded with his performance with top scholarship offers from Auburn, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and South Carolina. He committed to Mississippi State during his senior year of high school.

College career

Wright played for Mississippi State during his college career. He held onto the number 34 while playing for Mississippi State and played the linebacker position. During his sophomore season, he was promoted as a starter on the defensive unit as an outside linebacker. He then began to start for the rest of his college career except for his senior year, when he did not start for two games due to formation changes. He still started ten out of twelve games during his senior year.

Season GP GS Tackles Sacks PD FF Hurries
2007 10 0 7 4 0 0 0
2008 12 12 72 4 3 1 3
2009 12 10 81 2 2 1 4
2010 13 13 98 4 9 1 4

Professional career

On January 13, 2011, it was announced Wright had accepted his invitation to play in the 2011 Senior Bowl and was one of four Mississippi State players attending, including Derek Sherrod, Pernell McPhee and Chris White.[3] On January 29, 2011, he played in the Under Armour's Senior Bowl and was part of Buffalo Bills' head coach Chan Gailey's South team that defeated the North 24–10. He attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana and completed all of the combine drills. On March 10, 2011, Wright attended Mississippi State's pro day and opted to perform all of the drills except the broad jump and bench press. He was able to beat his times in the 40-yard dash (4.71 seconds), 20-yard dash (2.69 seconds), and 10-yard dash (1.66 seconds) from the NFL combine. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Wright was projected to be a third round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked the eighth best outside linebacker prospect in the draft by[4]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 3 38 in
(1.91 m)
246 lb
(112 kg)
34 78 in
(0.89 m)
9 in
(0.23 m)
4.75 s 1.69 s 2.78 s 4.46 s 7.26 s 32 in
(0.81 m)
10 ft 0 in
(3.05 m)
20 reps
All values from NFL Combine[5]

The Seattle Seahawks selected Wright in the fourth round (99th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft. He was the 13th linebacker selected.[6] General manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll stated they liked the thought of Wright as a strong side linebacker with the possibility of playing rush linebacker.[7]


On July 29, 2011, the Seahawks signed Wright to a four-year, $2.52 million contract the includes a signing bonus of $486,000.[8]

Wright performed well and impressed coaches throughout training camp and began taking reps at middle linebacker after the unexpected release of Lofa Tatupu in July.[7] Linebackers coach Ken Norton stated that he thought Wright was better suited for middle linebacker due to his instincts and length. He also felt that learning the position would speed up Wright's development since he would have to learn all of the defensive calls.[9] Head coach Carroll named Wright the backup middle linebacker to veteran David Hawthorne to begin the 2011 regular season.[10]

He made his professional regular season debut and first career start in the Seahawks' season-opener at the San Francisco 49ers and recorded five combined tackles during the 33–17 loss. Wright earned the start at middle linebacker in place of Hawthorne, who was inactive due to a knee injury.[11] On September 22, 2011, Wright began practicing at weak side linebacker with the first team defense in practice. It was suspected he had supplanted Aaron Curry as the starting strong side linebacker after Curry had a dismal performance where he dropped a crucial interception in the second quarter of the Seahawks' 24–0 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2.[12] The next day, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley announced there a competition between Wright and Curry for the job as the starting strong side linebacker.[9] On October 2, 2011, Wright earned his first career start at strong side linebacker after Matt McCoy started the previous week. He recorded two solo tackles in the 30–28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Although he earned the start, he shared playing time with Curry, with Curry receiving more snaps. The following day, head coach Carroll stated that the competition for the starting strong side linebacker job between both players remained open.[13]

In Week 5, Wright made his second consecutive start at outside linebacker and made four combined tackles in a 36–25 victory at the New York Giants. On October 13, 2011, the Seahawks traded Curry to the Oakland Raiders, effectively making Wright the de facto starting strong side linebacker for the remainder of the season.[14] On December 1, 2011, he collected five solo tackles and made his first career sack on Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Vince Young during a 31–14 victory.[15] The following game, he recorded a season-high eight combined tackles and sacked Sam Bradford during a 30–13 win over the St. Louis Rams. On December 18, 2011, Wright recorded a season-high eight combined tackles during a 38-14 victory at the Chicago Bears. He finished his rookie season with 65 combined tackles (50 solo), three pass deflections, and two sacks in 16 games and 12 starts.[16]


Wright returned as the starting strong side linebacker in 2012, alongside Leroy Hill and starting rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.[17] He took over play calling duties from Hawthorne, who departed in free agency. He started the Seahawks' season-opener against the Arizona Cardinals and recorded nine combined tackles and forced the first fumble of his career during a 20–16 loss. He forced running back Ryan Williams to fumble on the Cardinals' first drive and it was recovered by Seahawks' defensive lineman Brandon Mebane.[18] On September 24, 2012, Wright recorded a season-high 11 combined tackles during a 14–12 victory over the Green Bay Packers. In Week 9, Wright left the first quarter of a 30–20 win over the Minnesota Vikings after suffering a concussion.[19] He was listed as inactive and remained in concussion protocol the following game. In Week 15, he made three combined tackles, deflected a pass, and intercepted quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Seahawks routed the Buffalo Bills 50–17. The next week, he collected seven combined tackles and sacked Alex Smith in a 42-13 defeat of the San Francisco 49ers. He finished the 2012 season with 98 combined tackles (68 solo), five pass deflections, a sack, an interception, and a fumble recovery in 15 games and 15 starts.[20] He played in 92% of the Seahawks' defensive snaps.[21]

The Seahawks finished second in the NFC West with an 11-5 record and received a wildcard spot. On January 6, 2013, Wright started his first career playoff game and recorded eight combined tackles and a pass deflection during a 24–14 NFC Wildcard victory at the Washington Redskins. They were eliminated from the playoffs the following week after losing 30-28 at the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional round.[20]


Head coach Carroll named Wagner, Wright, and Malcolm Smith the starting linebackers to begin the regular season.[22] On September 15, 2013, Wright recorded six combined tackles, defended a pass, and sacked Colin Kaepernick as the Seahawks routed the San Francisco 49ers 45–17. In Week 9, he collected a season-high 11 combined tackles during a 27-24 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On December 8, 2013, Wright made three combined tackles during a 19–17 loss at the San Francisco 49ers before leaving with a foot injury. It was later discovered to be a broken foot and Wright missed the remainder of the regular season.[23] Wright finished the 2013 season with 80 combined tackles (46 solo), four pass deflections, and 1.5 sacks in 13 games and 13 starts.[24] The Seahawks' defense allowed the fewest points during the season for the second consecutive season under defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. At the time of his injury, Wright's overall grade from Pro Football Focus ranked tenth among all outside linebackers.[25] Wright played in 86% of Seattle's defensive snaps in 2013.[21]

The Seahawks finished atop the NFC West with a 13-3 record. After defeating the New Orleans Saints, the Seahawks went on the face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship with Wright making his return from injury. He recorded two combined tackles as the Seahawks won 23–17. On February 2, 2014, Wright started in Super Bowl XLVIII and made seven combined tackles as they routed the Denver Broncos 43–8.[24]


On December 18, 2014, the Seahawks signed Wright to a four-year, $27 million extension that included $10.18 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $5 million.[8][26] He became the second highest paid outside linebacker behind only Lance Briggs, and the contract had the largest total value of any outside linebacker's in the league.[27]

Wright entered training camp slated as the starting weak side linebacker after defensive end Bruce Irvin transitioned to strong side linebacker under new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.[28] Head coach Carroll named Wright the starting weak side linebacker to start the regular season, opposite Mike Morgan, who was named the starting strong side linebacker while Irvin recuperated from hip surgery.[29] On November 2, 2014, Weight recorded a season-high 13 combined tackles, a pass deflection, and a forced fumble during a 30–24 victory against the Oakland Raiders. In Week 13, he made seven combined tackles and recorded his first sack on the season on San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick in their 19–3 victory. Wright finished the 2014 season with 107 combined tackles (73 solo), four pass deflections, two sacks, and two forced fumbles in 16 games and 16 starts. It marked his first season with over 100 tackles and his first season starting all 16 games.[30]

The Seahawks finished atop the NFC West with a 12-4 record, marking their second consecutive season in first place. They went on to defeat the Carolina Panthers 31-17 and then defeated the Green Bay Packers 28-22 to win the NFC Championship. On February 1, 2015, Wright recorded 11 combined tackles as the New England Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24 to win Super Bowl XLIX.


Wright, Wagner, and Irvin returned to their starting roles in 2015 under new defensive coordinator Kris Richard. On September 20, 2015, Wright recorded nine combined tackles and forced a fumble during a 27-17 loss at the Green Bay Packers. Wright was ejected from the game after getting into a physical altercation with Packers' tight end Richard Rodgers in the third quarter. Wright shoved Rodgers to the ground and attempted to rip his helmet off and was flagged for unnecessary roughness and immediately ejected from the game. On September 25, 2015, the NFL fined Wright $10,000 for the incident.[31]

On October 5, 2015, Wright was involved in a controversial play during a 13-10 win against the Detroit Lions. With less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Lions' wide receiver Calvin Johnson fumbled the ball at the one-yard line while attempting to dive in the end zone. Wright batted the ball out of the back of the endzone, resulting in a touchback and possession for the Seahawks. The play was scrutinized after ESPN officiating analyst Gerry Austin pointed out the error and explained that the referees failed to penalize Wright for illegal batting that would've given the Lions possession at the one-yard line. Wright admitted the bat was intentional, but was unaware of the penalty. The NFL vice-president of officiating Dean Blandino admitted fault on behalf of the referees and confirmed illegal batting, and that Wright should have been penalized.[32] In Week 6, Wright recorded a season-high 12 combined tackles in the Seahawks' 27-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Through the first half of the 2015 season, Wright enjoyed the most productive stretch of his career, with 58 total tackles (34 solo), one tackle for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and one pass defensed. Over these eight games, Pro Football Focus graded him as the second best linebacker in the league.[33] He finished the 2015 season with 115 combined tackles (71 solo), three pass deflections, and a sack in 16 games and 16 starts. He started all 16 games and had over 100 tackles for the second consecutive season.[34] Pro Football Focus ranked Wright 53rd among all players in 2015.[35] The Seahawks received a playoff berth after finishing second in the NFC West with a 10-6 record. After defeating the Minnesota Vikings, they went on to play the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Divisional round. Wright recorded 14 combined tackles as the Seahawks lost 31-24.


During the offseason, strong side linebacker Bruce Irvin departed in free agency, while Wagner and Wright returned to their respective positions with Mike Morgan taking over the vacant strong side linebacker role.[36] Wright started the Seahawks' season-opener against the Miami Dolphins and recorded a season-high 11 combined tackles and sacked quarterback Ryan Tannehill during a 12-10 victory. On October 23, 2016, he recorded a season-high ten solo tackles in the Seahawks' 6-6 tie with the Arizona Cardinals. He finished the 2016 season with a career-high 126 combined tackles (72 solo), five pass deflections, and a career-high four sacks in 16 games and 16 starts.[37]

The Seahawks finished 10-5-1 and first in the NFC West. On January 14, 2017, Wright recorded ten combined tackles in a 20-16 loss at the Atlanta Falcons. Wright was selected as a replacement for Ryan Kerrigan for the 2017 Pro Bowl.[38] It was Wright's first Pro Bowl appearance. He finished the season with a career-high 126 tackles and four sacks.


Wright returned as the starting right outside linebacker, opposite Terence Garvin. On October 29, 2017, Wright recorded a season-high 15 combined tackles in the Seahawks' 41-38 victory against the Houston Texans. He missed a Week 15 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams due to a back injury.[39] The injury ended his 53-game streak of starts. In Week 16, he made six combined tackles, deflected two passes, and intercepted a pass by Dak Prescott in a 21-12 victory at the Dallas Cowboys. It was his first interception since 2012. He finished the season with 108 combined tackles (71 solo), six pass deflections, and an interception in 15 games and 15 starts. The Seahawks finished second in their division with a 9-7 record an did not qualify for the playoffs. It marked Wright's first time missing the playoffs with the Seahawks since his rookie season in 2011.[40] Wright received an overall grade of 82.1 From Pro Football Focus, ranking him 19th among all linebackers in 2017.[41]


Wright suffered a knee injury in the final preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings and underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.[42] As a result of the procedure, he missed the first six games of the season. Wright returned in week 8 against the Detroit Lions after the Seahawks bye week, and recorded 5 solo tackles and a pass deflection in the 28-14 win.[43] The following week against the Los Angeles Chargers, Wright recorded 7 combined tackles and another pass deflection in the 25-17 loss.[44] Wright recorded 2 combined tackles against the Los Angeles Rams in week 10 but was forced to leave the game early in the second half after aggravating his knee injury.[45] He was inactive for the following week's game against the Green Bay Packers.[46]


On March 14, 2019, Wright signed a two-year, $15.5 million contract extension with the Seahawks.[47] In week 3 against the New Orleans Saints, Wright recorded 13 tackles in the 33-27 loss. [48] In week 6 against the Cleveland Browns, Wright recorded an interception off Baker Mayfield in the 32-28 win. [49]

NFL career statistics

Season Tackling Fumbles Interceptions
Season Team GP GS Comb Solo Ast Sack FF FR Yds TD Int Yds TD PD
2011 SEA 16 12 65 50 15 2.0 1 1 30 0 0 0 0 3
2012 SEA 15 15 98 68 30 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 24 0 5
2013 SEA 13 13 80 46 34 1.5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4
2014 SEA 16 16 107 73 34 2.0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 4
2015 SEA 16 16 116 71 45 1.0 4 2 4 0 0 0 0 3
2016 SEA 16 16 126 72 54 4.0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 5
2017 SEA 15 15 108 71 37 0.0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 6
2018 SEA 5 5 23 15 8 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Career 107 103 700 451 249 11.5 10 7 34 0 2 25 0 30


  1. ^ Seahawks Seahawks: K.J. Wright Archived January 31, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Mississippi State Bio: K.J. Wright". Official State of the Mississippi State Bulldogs.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Vancleave's White one of four Mississippi State players invited to Senior Bowl". January 14, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  4. ^ "K. J. Wright, DS #8 OLB, Mississippi State". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  5. ^ "NFL Draft Profile: K. J. Wright". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  6. ^ "2011 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Associated Press (August 23, 2011). "Former Mississippi State star K.J. Wright making early impression with Seattle Seahawks". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  8. ^ a b " K. J. Wright contract". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
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  11. ^ Christian Caple (August 31, 2011). "John Carlson speaks about his shoulder injury, plus other notes". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  12. ^ Williams, Eric. "LB Aaron Curry demoted in favor of K.J. Wright". LB Aaron Curry demoted in favor of K.J. Wright. The News Tribune. Archived from the original on April 15, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
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  20. ^ a b "NFL Player stats: K. J. Wright (2012)". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  21. ^ a b Dan Matney (December 13, 2013). "How Seattle Seahawks Can Minimize the Loss of K.J. Wright". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  22. ^ Tyson Langland (August 27, 2013). "Seattle Seahawks Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  23. ^ Matt Verderame (December 9, 2013). "K.J. Wright injury: Seahawks LB out 6 weeks with broken foot". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  24. ^ a b "NFL Player stats: K. J. Wright (2013)". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  25. ^ Marc Sessler (December 10, 2013). "Wright (foot) to miss 4 to 6 weeks for Seahawks". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
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  28. ^ Wesseling, Chris (June 2, 2014). "Seattle Seahawks' Bruce Irvin undergoes hip surgery".
  29. ^ Danny Kelly (August 30, 2014). "Seahawks release updated depth chart". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  30. ^ "NFL Player stats: K. J. Wright (2014)". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  31. ^ Derek Lewis (December 19, 2015). "Report: K.J. Wright fined for hit on Richard Rodgers". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  32. ^ Peter Bukowski (October 6, 2015). "Seahawks' Wright didn't know rule, admits to intentionally batting fumble". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
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  34. ^ "NFL Player stats: K. J. Wright (2015)". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
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  43. ^ "Official Site of the National Football League |". Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  44. ^ "Official Site of the National Football League |". Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  45. ^ "Bradley McDougald made it through the entirety of Seattle's defeat to the Rams. K.J. Wright did not". The Seattle Times. November 11, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  46. ^ "Still-hurting K.J. Wright inactive. So are Seahawks Dion Jordan, forgotten C.J. Prosise". theolympian. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  47. ^ Boyle, John (March 14, 2019). "Seahawks Re-Sign Linebacker K.J. Wright".
  48. ^ "No Brees, no problem: Bridgewater, Saints top Seahawks 33-27". September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  49. ^ "Wilson's 3 TDs lead Seahawks' rally past Mayfield, Browns". October 13, 2019. Retrieved October 13, 2019.

External links

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