The difference between uber-talented pro athletes and Hall-of-Fame-worthy pros is just one thing.
Their level of commitment.
Commitment not just to their craft, their teammates and their coaches, but commitment to the process ... the process of finding every little thing they can improve to increase their chances of winning.
No critique is too small and no fix is too big.
Peyton Manning practically invented that level of commitment. And Russell Wilson has seemingly baptized himself in it.
“When you hear Russell talk about how much he loves the process, and how much he loves waking up in the morning and pushing all the guys and pushing the coaches—it’s true,” said head coach Nathaniel Hackett.
GM George Paton added that everyone at Dove Valley - throughout the building - sees that commitment.
“All he’s doing is working. You heard the stories in Seattle, but we live it. This is genuine,” Paton said, adding that he feels pretty good if he gets to the building and doesn’t yet see Wilson’s big ol’ truck in the parking lot yet. “He’s all about the process. I’ve said that 100 times, but he loves the process and the process of winning.”
What Wilson loves is figuring out each day how he can get 1% better - and doing it.
“Every morning I wake up, there is something to accomplish,” he said. “That is just to get the one percent better, every day. I think so many people think about these big gains and everything else. For me, I’ve been obsessed with that 1-to-3 percent. For me, if I can teach that, if I can help lead that, if I can help instill that, if I can help inspire that, if I can help do that for my own internal self every single day—I don’t need motivation. I don’t need outside motivation. It’s already within.”
"When you see his work ethic, see the things that he brings to the table and what he does, it's all earned." @DangeRussWilson's teammates react to his contract extension » https://t.co/QvOguN6yJ0 pic.twitter.com/5IE1NhTnhn— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) September 2, 2022
That mentality made it really easy for Paton and the Broncos to get their QB1 signed to a contract extension on Thursday.
The deal, which is a five-year, $245 million contract extension, includes a $50 million signing bonus plus another bonus in 2023. The total guarantees amount to $165 million, of which $124 million will be paid out over the first three years of the deal, giving Denver flexibility near the end of the contract.
When George Paton fell asleep around 11 p.m. Wednesday, he didn’t know if he’d make the deadline to get a deal done with his quarterback for a final contract.
“We did feel pressure,” the GM admitted. “It came down to the wire last night. We had a deadline. I felt we would figure it out, but you never know. We’ve never done a deal together.”
After pulling an all-nighter Tuesday to evaluate the waiver wire for practice squad players after finalizing their 53-man roster, Paton was pretty out of it the minute his head hit the pillow.
Then he got a Facetime call just before midnight.
It was Wilson and his wife Ciara calling to announce they had a deal.
“I couldn’t figure out the phone, so I lost them. I was like, ‘Are they going to ask for more money? What are they doing?’” Paton laughed. “They called again and I answered, and it was one of the best phone calls I’ve ever received. Ciara, Russ and even Mark [Rodgers] was on the call. It was pretty cool stuff and I’ll remember that. That’s the best I’ve felt after a deal.”
Wilson had his own story about the call.
“He wakes up, and he’s like, ‘Huh? What’s up?’ I’m like, ‘George, we have a deal.’ He’s like, ‘Yeahhhh,’” Wilson said. “We believed that we were going to be able to get something done ... There’s no way we couldn’t.”
With two years on his current contract, there wasn’t necessarily a rush to get a new one signed before the season started. Wilson knew he’d be playing here and knew it would eventually get worked out.
But there’s something to be said for showing your franchise QB some love - and showing the rest of the team your devotion to that quarterback.
“It’s going to be huge for our franchise,” said Courtland Sutton“… Him being here has brought excitement and has brought a new level of expectations and hope to our team and to this organization. To be able to have him around for years to come, somebody of his caliber, is exciting.”
Being able to just focus on the business of playing football rather than the football business will prevent any distractions from the main goal - winning a bunch of games.
“I came in here knowing that ‘Listen, I have two years. I’m ready to play. Whatever we have to do’,” Wilson said. “But I think that to be able to get this done before the season and just to have it all done is a blessing. I think it also allows us all to be excited—just to be in the locker room with the guys, to be on the field, and just having a great time with guys.”
Wilson explained that his interest wasn’t driven by the dollar amount but rather by a number that made sense for him and the team.
Because they have some lofty goals.
“To me, what it was really about was being able to win championships and being able to have enough space in the salary cap so George can make his magic” to bring in star players across the board, Wilson said.
“I love these guys. It’s been a blast and an amazing joy. For me, it wasn’t really about how much, necessarily. It was about how many Super Bowls we can win. That’s really the focus.”
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