As mere mortal teammates slept, Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson did high knees in aisle on flight to London


LONDON — Like a bonnie NFL prince, Russell Wilson walked regally in the footsteps of Winston Churchill and James Blunt, as a golden sun in the jealous October sky bathed the manicured grounds of an exclusive British boarding school where famous statesmen and fabulous singers alike have learned how to become men for 450 years.

“I’m ready to rock,” Wilson declared Wednesday.

After doing limited work in practice, Wilson paused for a moment on the hallowed grounds of the Harrow School in Greater London, as a private handler inquired if the Broncos quarterback needed his headphones or sunglasses.

Who is this guy? Bruce Wayne?

Did John Elway or Peyton Manning have a valet at practice?

Well, let me tell you about Wilson. He is very different from you and me.

With each passing week and with each mounting loss by the Broncos, whether Wilson throws a touchdown pass or not, we learn what a different breed of cat he is, in ways that the wittiest writers of “Saturday Night Live” could not imagine.

While mere mortal teammates slept during the long flight from Denver to London, DangeRuss said he worked on the plane, doing high knees and calisthenics in the aisle.

When you have Wolverine blood, you’re immune to jet lag.

“I don’t really get jet lagged too often. I don’t really. I’ve traveled enough to kind of get my system down,” said Wilson, a jet-setter who travels the globe with pop star Ciara at his side.

“For me, I was on the plane, the first two hours … what is it, an eight-hour flight? For the first two hours, I was watching film. Watching all the (game) cut-ups and everything else. And then, for the next four hours, I was doing treatment on the plane. I was walking up and down the aisles. Everyone was knocked out, I was doing high knees and working on my legs and everything else, making sure I’m ready to rock. So that was good. And the last two hours? … I fell asleep for one hour and I watched film for the rest.”

Oh, brother. Here we go again.

The Broncos are 2-5. This team and their new quarter-billion-dollar quarterback are the biggest flop of the NFL season. But Wilson and his high knees are going to make this team buzzworthy, for reasons that will make the rest of the league snicker.

The Great Gatsby wears No. 3 in orange and blue. Wilson is very different from you and me. But he might not be the guy you want to sit anywhere near on a transatlantic flight.

I tried to imagine Wilson doing calisthenics on the team charter until the sun rose on the British empire, but all I could envision was the Carlton dance from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” thinking maybe that’s what he meant by being ready to rock.

Jet-lagged and ragtag after traveling to England, I couldn’t get out of bed in time to hit the gym before the Broncos hit the practice field. So in tribute to Wilson, I tried doing burpees in the aisle of the media bus as we rolled away from the Harrow School on the 45-minute journey back to the hotel in the city.

It wasn’t pretty. You think snakes on a plane are scary? My bad burpees on the bus were more frighteningly ugly than the Broncos’ offense. The only redeeming quality of this futile exercise? I quit before hurting myself or some poor unsuspecting soul nearby. I slinked back to my seat and ate a chocolate chip cookie, with mad new respect for the sense of balance and relentless dedication of Wilson.

“I want to be out there. I want to help us win, get on a hot streak and just get us rolling,” said Wilson, giving every indication that a tender hamstring won’t prevent him from playing on the world stage against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The NFL airlifts teams to Europe to build its brand globally. Wilson has thrown five TD passes this season, the same as Joe Flacco, Justin Fields and Bailey Zappe. But nobody in the league knows brand-building better than Wilson, as sunny as any QB for a last-place team can possibly be.


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