Russell Wilson confirmed that yes, he did take out a rich insurance policy against injury for the 2015 season in the event the Seahawks' quarterback ends up playing it under only his $1.5 million base salary to end his rookie contract from 2012.
"That's just being smart," he said of the policy, shrugging his shoulders after the Seahawks' only day of mandatory minicamp spent on the practice field. "If I do have to play this season (without signing-bonus cash from a new, long-term contract), that's just being smart. That's all that is, really. I think that's the right thing to do.
Wilson's agent Mark Rodgers and the Seahawks have been talking in earnest since February but talks on an extension for 2016 and beyond remain stalled. Asked if he expected a new deal before the team begins training camp July 31, Wilson said today: "Hopefully."
I asked him what message fans should be getting from this offseason about him and his future with the Seahawks.
"I love the game of football. I love playing here. Hopefully it all works out," Wilson said. "I just trust in it. As you guys know, I'm not going to go into great detail about that, at all. It's a private matter.
"I'm grateful. To be able to play the quarterback position in the National Football League is the best job in the world.
Wilson wouldn't answer when I asked if, in his mind, it's back to that job and the end of contract talks if he doesn't have a new deal by the start of training camp. But coach Pete Carroll did, saying if the team and its quarterback haven't come to an agreement by the start of camp the Seahawks are willing to stay at it, that it won't be shelved until after the season.
"No, I don't care how long we keep working. Whatever it takes, to do the right thing.
"I'm hopeful. That's why we are working."
--Marshawn Lynch was at the mandatory minicamp -- no, he didn't say "I'm just here so I won't get fined." But he could have. Being here saved the star running back a potential $70,000 ding. He didn't do anything during practice, though, except mentor understudy Christine Michael some:
Michael missed most of the practice. Carroll said he has a slight hamstring pull.
--Defensive end Michael Bennett and outside linebacker Bruce Irvin both practiced. They skipped voluntary team workouts this spring over money issues.
Irvin spoke after practice and declared: "I want to be in Seattle." That was different than "I'm going to be in Atlanta next season," which is what he said in his hometown last month.
"Obviously, my words got misinterpreted. 2012, I had a lot of questions coming out in the draft," Irvin said. "Pete and John (Schneider, the Seahawks' general manager), they stuck their neck out for me, taking me in the first round. Why wouldn't I want to be here?
"I'm from Atlanta. My whole family is still in Atlanta. That's every kid's dream, playing for their home team. But right now, I'm in Seattle. And I love being in Seattle. And hopefully that's for the rest of my career."
When I asked him what message he got last month when the Seahawks decided not to exercise his $7.8 million contract option for next season, making this year his final one under contract with the team, Irvin said: "I got the message it's a business. It is what it is. That don't change my mindset. I'm still going to go out here and have the best season I've had so far.I can't do nothing about what they are doing upstairs. All that will take care of itself."
Irvin admitted the decision has given him new motivation for the 2015 season.
"I got a little complacent. And I feel that really put a chip on my shoulder that I go out here and handle my business."
Irvin said when he met this spring with Schneider the GM told him the team wants Irvin to play for it for many years beyond this one.
"John is a man of his word," Irvin said. "And so am I."
--Drew Nowak, a practice-squad guard last season, was again splitting time with Lemuel Jeanpierre as the first-string center, as he did during voluntary organized team activities last week. Nowak, as we noted last week, is left-handed. Wilson said the first snaps are a little weird but otherwise he doesn't notice the oddity in receiving Nowak's snaps.
Rookie sixth-round draft choice Kristjan Sokoli split time with part-time 2014 fill-in starter Patrick Lewis as the third center. When Sokoli was center, Lewis was at left guard. When Lewis was snapping, Sokoli was at right guard.
Wouldn't read a ton into all this, not in June -- other than it shows offensive line coach Tom Cable continues to mix and match to see what he may have at center. He knows what he has in Jeanpierre, departed Pro Bowl center Max Unger's backup the previous five seasons.
--Cassius Marsh, drafted in 2014 out of UCLA as a defensive end, got his first work as an outside linebacker today. Carroll said this was to see if there is versatility with Marsh there for the future.
--And there was this.
Yes, Williams is going to try to be on the Seahawks' 2015 roster having just one kidney. It will be amazing if he gets into shape to even compete for a roster spot.
--Here is more of what Carroll said:
--Here is how the team started its only minicamp practice -- as they begin all practices, on and through "the bags.":
And now for my pop-culture report:
Here is more of what Wilson said, but not all of it:
Russell Wilson – Quarterback
June 18, 2015
(On if he’ll take some time off now) “Not too much. I think for me, right now, I’m going to probably hang out around here this weekend and just relax the next few days and then I start my camp for the kids – I start traveling. That’s going to be fun. Then I go down to San Diego to train. I’ve got a place down there that I’m training at. That will be a lot of fun. Just quiet time, getting ready to go. San Diego’s not a bad place to be. That will be exciting. And then the ESPYs and obviously the Nickolodeon Kids’ Sports Choice Awards. I’ve also got Jermaine Kearse’s wedding so that’ll be fun. That’ll be a blast. So I’m just kind of hanging around, not going too far.”
(On the insurance policy he took out for this season) “In terms of the insurance policy, that’s just being smart. If I do have to play this season, that’s just being smart. That’s all that is, really. I think it’s the right thing to do. In terms of everything else, I love playing football and I love playing here. Hopefully it all works out. I’m just trusting it. But as you guys know, I’m not going to go into great detail about that at all. You know, it’s a private matter. But obviously, I’m excited about the season coming up. I’m excited to get back out there again and I can’t wait for the first whistle. I can’t wait for the national anthem and I can’t wait for training camp and all those things to happen. I’m grateful. To be able to play the quarterback position in the National Football League is the best job in the world so I’m truly excited about that.”
(On if the talk about a new contract wears on him at all) “Does it wear on me? No. I think for me, I’ve been through so much and just to be in the situation – to have this opportunity to have a situation like this where I have the option to potentially be here for a very long time is pretty cool. And I think for me, I just take one day at a time, like I always have. That’s never going to change for me. Whether I’m fortunate enough to receive a lot of money for a lot of hard-earned work or I’m still working for it every day, I’m never going to change in that aspect of it all. It comes down to working my butt off every day and trying to win a lot of games and do as much as I can to be successful for this football team and be successful for myself and my family and all that.”
(On Jimmy Graham) “Jimmy looks unbelievable as you guys have seen the few times you’ve been able to come out here. He’s an exciting football player. To add his talent level to our football team and what we’ve been able to do so far and the tons of guys we have already making plays for us, it’s an exciting thing. Continuing to put our foot down and work. Me and him have been talking a lot about getting up and meeting and training together and also some of the others guys as well. Guys are really pumped up – really pumped up for the season. We had a heartbreaker last season. I think even if we had won, just like the first time we won, we’d still have that fire and that passion, so that’s never going to change for us. So that’s the very exciting part about our team and our mentality, of going out there and being prepared to play and being prepared to play at a high level.”
(On how the team right now compares to where they were a year ago) “Well I think we’ll have to find out as the season goes on, obviously, but as far as our bond, it’s very good, it’s very, very strong. It’s been exciting. It’s mostly the same guys for the most part, so that’s a really good thing for us in terms of everybody being able to bond together and fight together and to have that mentality. So nothing’s really changed for us. Hopefully continue to elevate one another, hopefully continue to learn from one another and continue to try to remain humble through it all – the success and some of the failures that we’ll go through. We’re excited about the journey of this next season; excited about the journey of this offseason, being able to get away for a little bit and do our own thing to try to make sure that we’re individually ready but also the things off the field that we all have. Like I said, a lot of us have camps and a lot of things going on. Some guys are getting married so that’s exciting, and different stuff. It’s a blessing and we’re all there for one another. And when we get back, we’ll be ready to go and we can’t wait to see all these fans out here and the excitement around our football team and what we can do and the possibilities. You know, I think the idea of what our team can be comes through the hard work, comes through the preparation and comes through the togetherness that we have and that we’ve shown over the past three years. I think it’s going to be an exciting thing.”
(On if the team is using the Super Bowl loss as a motivating factor) “In terms of the Super Bowl loss, I think it’s a motivating factor for sure, but I don’t think it’s the ultimate one. I think, ultimately, for us, when you’re an ultimate competitor, as a team and an individual, the guys that we have within us, I think it comes down to we want to go out there and dominate as much as we can in every game. That’s just our mindset. So win or loss, we overcome things and we’re used to that. Our personalities, our experiences as young men – every guy in that room, you can find something they’ve overcome. So it’s one of those things where we have a lot of overcomers and that’s our mentality and what we’re looking forward to. And that’s why we believe we can go out there and play at a high level again, week after week. And we compete at a high level against some of the best players in the National Football League every day in practice. We’re excited about that.”
(On Tyler Lockett) “Tyler looks great. Tyler Lockett, he’s running around, flying around, quick as can be. I’m trying to think of who I can compare him to, but I can’t think of anybody, he’s got his own little vibe which is exciting. His ability is going to be great. He’s really learning a lot. He’s asking Doug Baldwin a lot of questions. He’s asking Jermaine Kearse a lot of questions. The wide receiver room right now, and the tight end room – I’m around those guys a lot – and the running back room as well, they’re really, really close and tight-knit.”