Good morning, Broncos Country!
If you were a conspiracy theorist, you might seriously wonder if the NFL planned for ESPN to issue a report this week about the Seahawks trying to trade Russell Wilson to the Browns back in 2018.
As if Wilson returning with his new team to play his old team in Week 1 on prime time television wasn’t drama enough, now there’s seemingly added incentive for Wilson to unleash his angst toward his former coach Pete Carroll.
The report dug into the details behind the already well-known fact that Wilson demanded a trade because he and Carroll did not see eye to eye. It also alluded to Wilson taking a step back in his career.
Current Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett weighed in on that one.
“I just know what I see out here on the practice field, and he looks awesome,” Hackett said. “So excited to have him here.”
And while the separation last spring is thought to be mostly over differing philosophies - Wilson wanting a more passer-friendly offense and Carroll preferring a run-first, defense-oriented scheme - it seems that part of the divorce came from the front office seeking out a different quarterback much earlier than 2022.
GM John Schneider was reportedly very interested in Patrick Mahomes in 2017 if he could fall far enough down in the first round.
He did not, so Schneider set his sights toward Josh Allen in 2018. But knowing the Bills were going for Allen with the seventh overall pick, Schneider approached the Browns with an offer - Wilson for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
It was seen as a clear sign that the Seahawks didn’t recognize the future Hall-of-Famer they had in their midst.
According to Henderson’s report, a Seahawks front office source said Wilson’s camp was “f---ing pissed.”
But on Thursday Wilson responded by saying he always realized that trading players is “part of professional sports” and he “didn’t really pay attention to it.”
“They tried to [trade me] a couple times and tried to see what was out there. ...Upset is probably the wrong word. I believe in my talent and who I am,” Wilson said, adding that who he is is a player who always wants to win.
“I believe I am one of the best in the world. I don’t worry about anything else other than that. I think my focus has always been on winning, what we can do, how we can add great players and everything else,” Wilson said. “I got to play with some amazing guys, some of the world’s best. ... So my focus is always on winning. That’s really all that matters.”
The ESPN story had other juicy details of the split, including inferences that Wilson was also mad about an offense that was preventing him from MVP honors.
Benjamin Allbright clarified on Broncos Country Tonight that the award itself isn’t what Wilson is interested in.
“It’s about leaving his mark on football,” Allbright said, noting that all the greats are concerned about that, concerned about their place in football history.”
And Wilson realized he was not going to be able to leave his greatest legacy by staying with the Seahawks.
Of course the rest is history. That 2018 trade didn’t happen anyway. The Browns took Baker Mayfield. The Bills got Allen.
And well, here we are four years later with the Bills aiming again to knock off the Chiefs from their AFC pedestal; the Browns are once again in a QB dumpster fire; and the Broncos made the deal of the century to get Wilson in exchange for Denver’s maligned backup Drew Lock.
This whole post Russell Wilson divorce from Seattle is very odd, I don't think I've ever seen anything like this.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) September 8, 2022
Brady/New England was chilly but nothing like this.
Feels almost like a smear campaign in the way things continue to leak into the public discourse.
Both Wilson and the Seahawks will say they don’t care what sports reporters or fans are saying about the situation.
Wilson, of course, took the high road when asked about it Thursday.
“I don’t worry about all this stuff. People have opinions and thoughts and ideas, and everybody has their own right to think what they want to think,” Wilson said on Thursday. “I know how the whole thing went and how it transpired and just the whole situation.”
Then Wilson highlighted how much he loved playing for the Seahawks for 10 years.
“I know every second of it I’ve enjoyed, in terms of being there and just tried to give my all every day. That’s all I know,” he said. “At the end of the day, every play, every game, every situation, hurt, dinged up, highest moments, lowest moments sometimes, [I] gave my all and that’s all I can give.”
Carroll was equally dismissive of the implication in the question.
“What’s it gonna be like?” Carroll said about having Wilson back in Seattle, but on the other side of the field. “It’s not going to be anything different than it ever would be. Why would it be something different? He’s a terrific player, and he’s going to do his thing over there, just like all the guys we play. This has been a long time coming — it’s not like we just changed uniforms last week. We’re in good shape, and I’m not in any way expecting it to be anything different.”
But while all that drama makes for glorious storylines on TV networks, it is irrelevant to both Wilson and Carroll.
Irrelevant unless it’s extra fuel for a win.
And a win is something both want - and probably need - to start their seasons.
Melvin Gordon III said while Russell Wilson "hasn't made a big deal about" facing the Seahawks, the Broncos want to get him a victory in his return to Seattle.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) September 8, 2022
"I hope we come out and we light it up, because we need that as a team — and we want to do that for him, too."
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