Russell Wilson’s story isn’t supposed to go like this. The Seattle Seahawks’ third-round draft pick was supposed to come in and sit behind the team’s big free agent signee, quarterback Matt Flynn. He was supposed to sit back and learn the NFL game.
He wasn’t supposed to be this good, this soon. And he sure wasn’t supposed to win the starting job in his rookie season. But that’s exactly what he has done.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll named Russell the team’s starting quarterback for the first regular season game of the 2012 NFL season. A move that would have originally caught everyone off-guard this off-season but surprised few after the past three preseason games. His numbers? 33 of 52 for 464 yards, five touchdowns, and only one interception.
Russell has always been a phenomenal athlete. He spent time as a Colorado Rockies minor-leaguer while also lighting up Atlantic Coast Conference defenses as the star quarterback of NC State. After graduating from NC State, Russell had one more year of football eligibility. He walked away from baseball and transferred to Wisconsin.
Russell earned third team All-American honors and set multiple records in leading the Wisconsin Badgers to a Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl berth. His on-field numbers were staggering – 33 touchdowns, only 4 interceptions, and an astounding 72.8% completion percentage and NCAA record 191.8 passing efficiency score.
But NFL teams thought his 5’11 frame was too short to succeed in the NFL. Quarterbacks are supposed to be 6’2 and taller – rarely does a small quarterback succeed. Someone better call Drew Brees, the NFL’s single season passing leader for a second opinion. Brees is barely 6’0 tall but a top three quarterback in the league.
Russell ignored the doubters and came into camp determined to win. He competed every day with Flynn and teammate Tavarias Jackson. They all wanted to start, only Russell took hold of the competition and rose above the others.
Now Russell Wilson gets his chance to prove the doubters wrong starting Week one. For all those who said he was too short to play quarterback, he is writing a story worthy of making them eat their words. It’s not about the size of the man, but the size of his heart.