Move over Manning, Wilson has a stage to star on

The Associated Press
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The captain was a few minutes late, though no one seemed to mind.

Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson (3) is pressured by Houston Texans' Brian Cushing (56) during the third quarter an NFL football game in this Sept. 29 file photo in Houston. — Photo by The Associated Press

Russell Wilson is usually worth the wait, and no more than on this day, his final one speaking about the game before he actually plays The Game.

Peyton Manning is supposed to be the star of this Super Bowl, but a minor league second baseman who refused to listen to those who said he was too small to play quarterback in the NFL may have something to say about that. Proving people wrong is almost as fun for Wilson as winning football games, and he’s done both with great regularity since being drafted with the 75th overall pick two years ago by the Seattle Seahawks.

“For all the kids that have been told, no, that they can’t do it, or all the kids that will be told no,” Wilson said. “That’s one of the reasons that I left playing baseball, to be honest with you. I had this urge to play the game of football, because so many people — I shouldn’t say so many, a handful of people — said I couldn’t do it.

Richard Sherman will be the player most remembered from the win that got Seattle here. But if not for a gutsy play on an equally gutsy call, the Seahawks would not be in position to win their first Super Bowl title. Wilson found Jermaine Kearse in the end zone for the touchdown on a fourth down against San Francisco in the NFC championship game, giving the Seahawks the lead for the first time.

It was the kind of play a veteran star like Manning might make when it counts most. The kind of play Wilson prepared for meticulously every day for the past two years.

The kind of play that can win a Super Bowl.

“I don’t think I’ve seen too many people have the knack to want be great. He wants to be a great quarterback,” receiver Percy Harvin said. “He just doesn’t want to be average or All-Pro. He wants to be talked about as a great quarterback and I don’t think he’s going to stop until he does.”

By now, Wilson’s story is fairly well known. The son of the late Harrison Wilson III — a star athlete at Dartmouth who became a lawyer after briefly thinking of trying out for the NFL in 1977 — he lost a job as starting quarterback at North Carolina State while playing second base in the Colorado Rockies organization.

Wilson would give up baseball to star as a graduate student at Wisconsin, leading the Badgers to the Big 10 title and a spot in the Rose Bowl. But he was undersized at 5-foot-11 and languished in the NFL draft before Pete Carroll and the Seahawks took a chance on him for what was expected to be a backup quarterback position.

Organizations: Seattle Seahawks, NFL, Colorado Rockies

Geographic location: Seattle, San Francisco, Dartmouth North Carolina State Wisconsin

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