Russell Wilson had two, clear answers to another national article stating a locker-room group opposing him and angry that he was receiving preferential treatment broke up the champion Seahawks.
“I’ve laid it on the line, every play,” Wilson said.
He left unsaid but implied: That includes two seasons ago, when he played through a high-ankle sprain and sprained knee that doctors told him should keep him out four weeks. And it includes the fact he hasn’t missed a game in his seven seasons as the Seahawks’ starter, which he became in the first game of his rookie season of 2012 as a third-round draft choice doubted because he wasn’t tall enough.
Beyond that, the only quarterback to start two Super Bowls in his first three years in the NFL wants all to know, again: “I ignore the noise.”
“For me, I’ve always been focused on helping this team win, in whatever form and fashion,” Seattle’s franchise quarterback said Friday, one week after Sports Illustrated published an article saying unnamed former and current players assert an anti-Wilson split in the locker room broke up the Seahawks’ core over the last year.
“From the moment I got here — I remember, May 11, 2012 — that’s been my sole focus, is to do everything I can to make this football a winning, championship-caliber football team every year. Ultimately, I try to do everything I can to lay it on the line on every play. One thing I can always say about my play so far in my career, I’ve laid it on the line every play.
“That’s the only thing that I can do, is to just to continue to lead a group of men, in a sense that, hey, we are going to try to be the best in the world every time we step on the field in how we prepare and how we practice.
“All the other stuff, like I’ve always said, I just ignore the noise. I focus on the things that I know, the things I know helps prepare this football team to help to try to win as many games as possible.
“Everything else, I don’t really worry about too much.”
Wilson is coming off a 27-24 loss at Denver in the season opener in which he completed 19 of 33 passes for 298 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions (the second a desperation heave on the game’s final play). The Broncos sacked him six times last weekend. Wilson took responsibility for three of those, for trying to extend plays that weren’t there by scrambling into more pressure.
That performance by the four-time Pro Bowl QB came two days after SI published its article with the title ‘The Dynasty that Never Was: Inside the Dismantling of the Seattle Seahawks.’ The story focused on him, and on teammates that have allegedly been against him.
Coach Pete Carroll, accused in the article of preferential treatment of Wilson, said last week an anti-Wilson divide did not break up the champion Seahawks.
This week Carroll was asked on his weekly radio show on Seattle’s KIRO AM if it was a tough week for Wilson with the SI article coming out two days before the Denver game.
“I think it was harder than it needed to be. But he was fine,” Carroll said.
“(He) showed how classy he is, how up above the fray he is. And he was fine about it.
“But, he’s human. No one wants people talking about you like that. Whatever. No, I thought he handled it really well. He’s as good as you can get doing it. But he’s normal. He’s a human, too.”
Wilson responded to the question about the SI article one day after teammate Brandon Marshall, a six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver debuting with the Seahawks this season, was asked what he’s learned about Wilson.
“From afar, you can tell what type of guy he is. I usually work well with guys who love the game, respect the game. So, I wasn’t surprised (at that),” Marshall said.
“The thing that I was surprised about was how awesome his leadership is. His leadership every single day is unwavering. His work ethic, that’s the thing I talk to him about all the time. It’s like, ‘Bro, you’re awesome. You’re amazing.’”
Marshall said he hit up his quarterback, who is well-known on social media for his #NoTime2Sleep postings, on Wednesday with request.
“Yesterday I texted him ‘Get seven hours and a half hours of sleep. We don’t need you working off of four or five hours,’” Marshall said.
“Those are some things that jump out to me: his work ethic, his leadership. His leadership is just next level. He’s a great guy to play with. I’m really enjoying playing with him.
“The kid is special. I just want him to sleep a little bit more. We working on that. But, the kid is special.”
So, I asked Marshall, could he fathom the assertions in the SI article?
In fact, Marshall can believe that.
“Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s every locker room. You always have those things,” he said. “It’s how you deal with it. Every team has it.
“Look at the New England Patriots. Look how many rings they have and how dominant they’ve been the last 15 or so years. Now we’re starting to see some of the things that’s going on.
“The great teams do a great job of just holding it in and keeping it within house and trying to work through those things. You got to understand, there’s so many alpha-males, all these guys are alpha-males. From where they come from, they’re the best at what they do. They’re the best on their team. You put all these guys in the same locker room, there’s some things you got to work through. There’s some things that are going to come up. There’s egos. Egos kill. Egos destroy. And we all have them.
“I’m not shocked, I’m not surprised. I would say I’m a little disappointed because, to me, it was a dynasty. We feared going against Seattle. So it’s just disappointing that they couldn’t stick together a little bit longer.”