Kenneth Bernard Wright, Jr. 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 Rivals.com. 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.
K.J. 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.
Wright was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL draft. He started to see playing time behind Aaron Curry. He then replaced Curry as a starter after Curry struggled against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second week of the season. Aaron Curry was then traded to the Oakland Raiders.
From 2012-2014, KJ Wright started 44 of a possible 48 games for the Seahawks, mostly playing weakside linebacker in the 4-3 defensive scheme. The Seahawks defense lead the league in fewest points allowed in all three of those seasons. Over those three seasons, Wright recorded 285 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 1 interception, 13 passes defensed, and 19 tackles for loss. During that time, Wright also started 7 of a possible 8 postseason contests, registering 47 total tackles, 3 passes defensed, and 3 tackles for loss, contributing to a run that included a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII and an appearance in Super Bowl XLIX.
Despite being one of the less heralded members of the vaunted Seahawks defense that in 2014 included four All-Pros in CB Richard Sherman, SS Kam Chancellor, FS Earl Thomas and MLB Bobby Wagner, on December 18th, 2014, the Seahawks signed Wright to a 4 year, $27 million extension to keep the linebacker in Seattle through 2018 and making him second highest paid OLB behind only Lance Briggs, and the contract has the largest total value of any OLB in the league.
In Week 2 of 2015 against the Green Bay Packers, Wright was involved in a scuffle with Packers tight end Richard Rodgers after a play. Wright shoved Rodgers to the ground and fell on top of him trying to rip off his helmet. Wright was flagged for unnecessary roughness and was ejected from the game, which the Seahawks went on to lose 27-17. Wright was also fined $10,000 by the NFL on September 25.
In Week 4 of 2015 against the Detroit Lions, Wright became a figure of controversy. With Detroit trailing 13-10 and less than two minutes left, Lions receiver Calvin Johnson fumbled the ball at the one-yard line while trying to dive in for a go-ahead touchdown. The ball bounced through the endzone, and Wright would bat the ball out of the back of the endzone, resulting in a touchback and possession to the Seahawks' offense. The Seahawks would ultimately win by a 13-10 score. However, Wright's batting of the ball would have been a penalty, resulting in Detroit keeping possession at the one-yard line, if the officials had ruled Wright's bat was intentional. Wright would admit after the game that he did intentionally bat the ball and wasn't aware of the rule against it.
Through the first half of the 2015 season, K.J. Wright enjoyed the most productive stretch of his career, with 58 total tackles (34 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 pass defensed. Over these eight games, Pro Football Focus graded him as the second best linebacker in the entire league.