As an NFL prospect, Russell Wilson attracted scouts’ attention with his disproportionately large hands.
At 101/4 inches from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger when fanned out, they were considered an indicator that he might have what it takes to play quarterback in the NFL.
Now, he’s busy using those massive mitts to scoop up life with both hands.
Continuing his theme of lofty expectations, higher goals and life without limits, Wilson has been busy in the few weeks since wrapping his hands around the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback has been in the news while announcing that he will appear at spring training with the Texas Rangers, a team that bought his rights for what seemed little more than ceremonial reasons.
And this week, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he was quoted as having a goal to own a professional franchise — NFL or Major League Baseball. “Maybe even both,” he said.
That’s not right now, of course, the 25-year-old Wilson said, but perhaps after “playing 20 years, hopefully, for the Seahawks.”
This won’t be easy.
The two most recent franchise sales were to billionaire owners Shahid Khan, Jacksonville ($3.8 billion net worth) and Jimmy Haslam, Cleveland ($1.45 billion net worth).
To even get to $1 billion in gross earnings, Wilson would have to make roughly $50 million a year over the next 20 seasons.
His salary this season was reportedly a little over $500,000.
He’ll be in for a big payday, perhaps at the end of next season, but he’ll be way behind the sticks on that $50 mil-a-year pace.
Another reality in the contemporary NFL is that no African American is the majority owner of a franchise. But that’s only one fewer than the number of 5-foot-101/2-inch starting quarterbacks in the NFL.
Of course, if Wilson leads the Seahawks to a couple more Super Bowl titles, owner Paul Allen (reported net worth: $15 billion), might bequeath the team to him.
It’s rare but not unheard for an athlete to become an owner. Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was a player and went on to make a fortune in the restaurant business.
Michael Jordan is majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, and Shaquille O’Neal has a minority share of the Sacramento Kings.
Doubtful, though, that any of them set franchise ownership as a serious goal at age 25.
What kind of owner might Wilson be? I’m thinking his coaches would have to get into the office pretty early.
Of more immediate relevance is his flirtation with baseball again. Wilson spent two seasons in the minor leagues with the Colorado Rockies organization — he played for their Single-A short-season affiliate in Pasco in 2010 — and was taken by Texas in the Rule 5 draft. The Rangers spent $12,000 for his rights.
Supposedly he’s to come down to spring training to talk to their young players, serving as a positive influence in regards to preparation and professionalism.
There doesn’t appear to be any expectation of him joining the team in the long run and doubling up with two sports like Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson, both of whom were major league-ready.
Some contend that even a limited visit in camp will be a distraction from his “day” job. Those critics haven’t been paying much attention to how Wilson approaches his obligations to his regular employer.
Others felt that seeing him posing in a Rangers jersey was a bit of a betrayal to Seattle sports fans, because Texas is an American League West rival of the hometown Mariners.
Look, the Mariners haven’t won enough lately to be anybody’s rival. It’s not like when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick wore a Miami Dolphins ball cap. The Rangers aren’t even in the same sport as the Seahawks.
A fair concern: He might get excited when he’s down there, think he can jump in fielding grounders and take one off the Adam’s apple.
Otherwise, go get it, kid. The world is still in front of you. Grab all you can.
As your father used to ask: Why not you?
And as he used to tell you: There’s a king in every crowd.
Although actually aiming to become royalty might be even tougher than becoming an NFL owner.