Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson's new TV show starts soon. Pete Carroll and Jon Gruden offer their thoughts

Russell Wilson's newest endeavor launches April 17 on ESPN. The Seahawks quarterback is replacing Jon Gruden in a series of programs about evaluating and mentoring quarterbacks before the NFL Draft. Gruden gave up the role when he left ESPN to coach the Oakland Raiders.
Russell Wilson's newest endeavor launches April 17 on ESPN. The Seahawks quarterback is replacing Jon Gruden in a series of programs about evaluating and mentoring quarterbacks before the NFL Draft. Gruden gave up the role when he left ESPN to coach the Oakland Raiders. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Russell Wilson's newest endeavor launches April 17 on ESPN.

The Seahawks quarterback is replacing Jon Gruden in a series of programs about evaluating and mentoring quarterbacks before the NFL Draft. Gruden gave up the role when he left ESPN to coach the Oakland Raiders.

In advance of the April 26-28 NFL Draft, Wilson will work with quarterback prospects and former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley on 30-minute specials called “QB2QB.” Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph are scheduled to appear on the show.

In the shows, Wilson is expected to share his NFL experiences with the prospects while his cognitive coach, Trevor Moawad, also works with the player.

The shows were shot on the UCLA campus where part of the football center was transformed into a set that include a large L-shaped couch, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"I can't wait for this. It's gold," Wilson told the newspaper. "It's just a special show where you really get to see who these young men are, and what they're going to become. They really get raw and honest and just truthful about their experiences in life."

Most of the guests are likely to be drafted higher than the host. Wilson was a third-round pick by Seattle in 2012.

Producer Jay Rothman told the Times he's not trying to recreate "Gruden's QB camp."

"This is different, and it's going to feel different," Rothman said. "Part of it was that fans tuned into 'QB Camp' because, name your favorite late-night show, Jon was that kind of guy. Lots of fans tuned in for the 'Chuckie' factor.

"I don't think this (show) is going to have that. This is going to be interesting in a different way, because we have a current player who's super thoughtful and super interesting, who's putting himself out there and giving back."

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is OK with Wilson adding another activity to his busy schedule.

"I think it's unusual for anybody other than Gruden to do it," Carroll told the Times. "Jon's been such a fixture. It's something that's dear to Russell's heart, the whole quarterbacking and the art of it. I think he's really going to have fun with it. Get a chance to meet some guys and share some stuff. I don't think it's any big deal."

Gruden told the newspaper he thinks Wilson will do well. "I've got an old saying: You don't stay the same, you either get better or worse," Gruden said. "Obviously, ESPN got better. They get a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. He'll do a great job, I'm sure. It will be a different twist, a refreshing approach."

Craig Hill: 253-597-8497
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