The Russell Wilson Era in Denver has officially begun.
And as Nathaniel Hackett reportedly said when asked weeks ago if interested in pursuing the former Seattle Seahawk signal caller...
Wilson was introduced in his first official press conference, and the energy in Denver could be felt a mile high and 1,000 miles in each direction.
But it was Wilson’s competitive spirit that ruled the day in Dove Valley.
Saying he plans to “play another 10-12 years and win 3-4 more Super Bowls,” Wilson believes in the legacy that Pat Bowlen, John Elway and Peyton Manning all brought to the Broncos - and he intends to bring it back.
“I came here for one reason. For ONE reason,” he said. “And that’s to win. At the highest level. And often.”
That desire to win stood out to GM George Paton immediately.
“I’ve never met someone that is [as] completely obsessed with winning as Russ is,” Paton said, joking that he could only take so much “football talk” between Wilson and his new coach. “Not only with winning, but the process of winning and the work that goes into it. You watch him and Coach Hackett in a room, and I can only stay for about a half-hour and then I have to leave.”
While the elite passer was thanking his former coaches and teammates in the presser, the Seahawks were tweeting comments from head coach Pete Carroll that reeked of blame on the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback for being the one to choose to leave.
And likely without knowing it, Paton had his own subtle dig at the Seahawks for letting Wilson go.
“It’s just unique that you can trade a quarterback—a franchise quarterback—in his prime, and we just felt that we had to take that chance,” Paton said, pointing to Wilson’s arm strength, accuracy and “the best deep ball in the NFL.”
“The ‘It’ factor that all great quarterbacks have, ‘Russ’ has,” Paton added. “He’s the best in the biggest moments. He’s best at the end of the game—to win the game. He’s a winner.... Here we are bringing him to a team that is talented, that is hungry, that just needs to learn how to win, and we feel like he is going to get us to where we need to go.”
Wilson insisted the desire to move on from the Seahawks was mutual but also proved his choice in Denver was absolutely intentional. Where he refused to waive his no-trade clause for some teams, he decided to do it for Denver.
“If I was going to waive my no trade clause, it has to be to a winning football team,” Wilson said. “These guys are winners back here. So I’m excited about it. It’s a winning locker room. It’s about the players. Obviously it’s a great coaching staff and organization, but the players, we love getting it done, and that’s what I’m excited about.”
He even admitted to watching every Broncos’ game in 2021 while agents were working out the details and he was on vacation with the fam.
Even the preseason games.
Most importantly, Wilson wasn’t the least bit intimidated by coming to arguably one of the most competitive divisions in all the NFL.
In fact, he seems to relish it.
“Well I think first of all, why would you want it any other way?” he said. “I want to be at the highest level.”
But Wilson knows his nine previous Pro Bowls and 113 wins in Seattle - the most for any player in his first 10 seasons in the NFL - don’t guarantee anything in Denver.
And as if Peyton Manning were talking through him, Wilson noted that the first order of business as a leader will be studying.
“This game is about intellectual processing. How fast can you process what you see, what you know and what you studied. I think that ability to process everything is really critical,” he said, adding that starts in the offseason, in the weight room. “Will you show up on time and be ready to do this, ready to do that. ...I think that wild obsession with doing the little things right, it allows you to have the big things and the big moments as well.”
Mastering the “everyday little steps” is the key to winning - and winning often - as Wilson plans to do with the Broncos.
“I’m super excited about winning. I came here for one reason and that’s to win. That’s what I believe in,” Wilson said. “Every day what you’re going to get from me is that mentality. ...That’s what it takes. We’re here for one thing and that’s to win. That’s to win at the highest level often and I’m excited about the journey. Broncos Country, let’s ride.”