RENTON — First of all, the issue of Russell Wilson’s hair.
It came down to this: Either shear it off down to the scalp or show up at the White House wearing a mohawk.
What Russell Wilson, the buttoned-down, by-the-book quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks getting radical with his hair after winning the Super Bowl?
Of course not. Typically, the process was all for the benefit of a charity.
After letting it grow during the season, Wilson had the sides taken down tight for his appearance at the Sports Spectacular Gala in California to raise awareness and funds for the fight against diabetes — the disease that claimed his father.
With the event on Sunday, and the White House visit only a few days later, “I couldn’t see President Obama and the first lady (like that), so I cut it all off,” Wilson said. “It’s growing back slowly.”
With such scant coverage on top these days, it would be easy to see if Wilson had developed The Big Head after the Super Bowl victory and the acclaim and nationwide visibility that came with it.
But that would be vastly out of character.
“I stay pretty organized,” he said. “I stay focused on what I need to stay focused on, getting ready to play football. My body feels great, my arm feels really strong and my knowledge of the game has grown exponentially from year one to year two and from year two to year three. And playing in big games like the Super Bowl always helps.”
Wilson has looked spectacular in the organized team activity (OTA) practices open to the media. He has thrown deep touchdown passes every day; Monday’s going to rookie speedster Paul Richardson.
Wilson has always shown elusiveness on the run, but on one broken play Monday he displayed impressive raw speed, reaching a gear that allowed him to jet past a few defenders.
He said he hasn’t lost weight, but he’s been eating smart and working to “lean down.”
“My goal is to continue to work on fundamentals, continue to be engaged in the huddle and bring my guys with me, and be exceptional when we practice.”
He also has been intercepted a few times in practice, though, which very much appears to be a product of playing every day against the best defense in the National Football League.
With an established quarterback handling the huddle and the top defense nearly fully intact, the practices have the same hyper-competitiveness they had last fall during the best season in franchise history.
“I think the thing I noticed more than anything else is the energy level,” Wilson said. “After winning, it can go either way; sometimes you can kind of fall off and not stay focused.”
Wilson doesn’t see even a hint of that.
“I think once we tasted the Super Bowl, and accomplished that, we want it that much more again,” he said.
From his perspective, the Seahawks of early June are acting like the Seahawks that roared through the playoffs in January and February.
“The guys we have are so competitive and so eager to play,” he said. “I was just excited to get back out here with these guys. The energy we have at practice, the attention to detail we have every time, is as good as it gets. We’re not going to slack off.”
The competitiveness at the receiver position is what has most jumped out at Wilson during the early days of OTAs.
With Percy Harvin back to full speed, Doug Baldwin contractually extended and a couple returners and rookies added to the mix, the receiver corps “has been the best-looking position so far,” Wilson said. “They’ve been exceptional. Our receivers are as fast as it gets.”
And at this point, Wilson has been sharp in getting the ball to them — the only difference between now and last season is the haircut.