Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson leans on lessons from late friend Trevor Moawad


Looking to assist his client ahead of the 2012 NFL draft, Mark Rodgers recommended a meeting between Russell Wilson and Trevor Moawad, a sports psychologist whom Rodgers had met in baseball circles.

Wilson was training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where Moawad was a mental conditioning coach. After a successful college football career at N.C. State and Wisconsin and seasoned in handling life adversity (the death of his father) and career struggles (.229 minor-league baseball batting average), did Wilson really need another voice in his head?

“I knew I wanted it,” Wilson said during an interview with The Denver Post. “I don’t know if needed it or not, but I know I wanted it and I’ve always believed in the mental side of things. That’s really a critical part and a separator for me.”

Those initial meetings were the start of a tight-knit relationship both personal and professional. Wilson and Moawad would talk nearly every day on the phone. Moawad would travel to Seattle for Wilson’s Seahawks games. And in 2019, along with Wilson’s brother, Harry, they launched Limited Minds, which brings competitive thinking to the corporate workspace.

The conversations — covering any topic at any time — continued during Moawad’s two-year battle with cancer, which took his life last September. Since Wilson was traded to the Broncos in March, his new teammates have seen and heard first-hand how positivity is page No. 1 in No. 3’s playbook.

“It’s such a natural positivity because it’s coming from a place of being prepared and of being able to know he can go out and have success because he’s prepared to have it,” receiver Courtland Sutton said.

The Broncos have embraced Wilson’s modus operandi of staying positive and neutral, trying to get better each day, entering Monday night’s opener against the Seahawks.

“When you hear Russell talk about much he loves the process and loves pushing all the guys and the coaches, it’s awesome because it’s inspiring to a coach,” Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “It’s something that makes you feel really good about your chance to be able to get where we want to get.”

Every-day talks

Trevor Moawad seen on day two ...
Trevor Moawad seen on day two of Summit LA19 in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Amy Harris, Invision/AP)

Moawad, who was 48 when he died, worked with teams such as the NBA’s Memphis Grizzles and college football programs at Alabama, Michigan State, Florida State and Michigan, connecting with coaches such as Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, Jimbo Fisher and Mel Tucker. He was also close with Los Angeles Clippers executive Lawrence Frank and tennis player Taylor Dent.

Wilson wrote the foreword for Moawad’s 2020 book, “It Takes What It Takes,” and the postscript of this year’s, “Getting To Neutral,” which was released posthumously.

Moawad’s first book was about “neutral thinking,” which he described as a “method of making decisions that requires us to strip away our biases and focus on facts. … Neutral thinking asks you to focus on the next set of steps in order to move forward.”


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