Broncos QB Russell Wilson returns to Seattle in primetime on Monday Night Football


A day after being labeled a “descending player” by an anonymous source in the Seahawks’ front office, Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson took the high road in response to an ESPN story about his departure from Seattle.

Speaking on Thursday at the UCHealth Training Center, four days ahead of Wilson’s return to Lumen Field for the season opener against his former team, Wilson said he wasn’t sure of the reception he’ll receive from the “12th man.”

But if he does get booed by Seahawks fans, he won’t be worried about it.

“People are going to love me, people are going to hate you sometimes,” Wilson said. “But I know that for me, I’ll forever have love in my heart for Seattle.

“Those 10 years, I couldn’t imagine those not being in my life and how special they were, and how many games we won, the amazing thrillers, the Super Bowl we won. I’m going to think about all that and the joy and gratitude from that. And also, we’ve got a football game to play.”

The ESPN story detailed the “drama” leading to Wilson’s blockbuster trade to Denver in March, when general manager George Paton sent two first-round picks (2022,’23), two second-round picks (2022, ’23), a fifth-round pick (2022), tight end Noah Fant, defensive end Shelby Harris and quarterback Drew Lock to Seattle in exchange for the Pro Bowl quarterback and a 2022 fourth-round pick.

Wilson confirmed the Seahawks tried to trade him “a couple times” during his tenure there, but said that he wasn’t angered by those attempts. One of those trade attempts was with the Browns prior to the 2018 draft, before Wilson had a no-trade clause in his contract.

“(Seattle) tried to see what was out there,” Wilsons said. “It’s part of the business and it’s part of being a professional. Upset isn’t the right word (for my reaction to those trade attempts). I believe in my talent and who I am, and I believe I’m one of the best in the world, and I don’t worry about anything else other than that.”

The quarterback with two Super Bowl appearances and 32 game-winning drives in his career publicly complained about his lack of protection after the 2020 season. Wilson’s 427 sacks over his decade in Seattle were more sacks than any other quarterback in a 10-year span in NFL history. That, coupled with coach Pete Carroll’s desire for an offensive identity rooted in the run, soured Wilson’s relationship with his former coach.

Wilson dismissed the notion shared by sources within the Seattle front office to ESPN that his mobility has dwindled, and the projection that his legs and ability to pass from the pocket could be an issue going forward. Wilson can earn his 30th primetime win against Seattle — he’s currently 29-11-1 in those games.

“People have their opinions and thoughts and ideas, and everybody has their own right to think what they want to think,” Wilson said. “I know how the whole thing went, how the situation transpired (with the fallout with Carroll and the trade). But at the same time, every second of it I enjoyed in terms of being there and trying to give it my all every day.”

Wilson and the Broncos enter the Week 1 showdown as 6.5-point favorites. But it’ll be a raucous environment for the visitors before a sellout crowd. On the secondary market, the average purchase price for the game is $497, per TickPick. It’s the most expensive game on Seattle’s schedule this year and the seventh-most expensive game on the NFL calendar.

A win over the Seahawks will also put Wilson one step closer to becoming the fifth quarterback in NFL history to beat all 32 teams. He also still needs to beat the Chargers, whom the Broncos play on the road in Week 6 and at home in Week 18.


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