“They build you up to tear you down.” It’s a fitting adage that many high-profile figures, including Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, know all too well.
Formerly one of the most beloved QBs in the NFL, Wilson has been under fire lately for not performing at the elite level that made him a household name. The Broncos have a 2-3 record and Wilson has made some dire faux pas on the field.
Though Wilson has been playing through a shoulder injury, he has owned his mistakes.
“You’ve got to look at this — I’ve got to look at this and see where I can get better,” Wilson said after a loss, according to ESPN. “I was battling, obviously, just the shoulder [injury] and all that and just trying to play quickly. We should have won that game. [We] should have won it. Like I said, it’s on me. The one thing that I know is I’ve gone through tough times before. I’ve gone through obstacles, I’ve gone through challenges, gone through highs as well as lows. A lot of highs, several lows, and I wasn’t ever getting discouraged ever.”
The Broncos gave up a lot to obtain Wilson in one of the biggest trades in NFL history. The Seattle Seahawks received Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, two first-round picks (2022 — No. 9 overall — and 2023), two second-round picks (2022 — No. 40 overall — and 2023) and a 2022 fifth-round selection for Wilson.
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Despite Wilson’s injury and accountability, the media and NFL fans are not taking it easy on him.
Crescent City Kings General Manager Claude’ Tony’ Flot told Moguldom Nation he understands why people are upset.
“He hasn’t been the Russell Wilson that he was in Seattle and that is looking really bad to Denver Broncos fans and the organization,” Crescent City Kings General Manager Claude “Tony” Flot told Moguldom Nation. “With the lucrative contract he was given and the amount of capital that the Broncos gave up for him, they expect to win and become an immediate Super Bowl contender.”
“It’s more than just a couple of lapses. Wilson is becoming before our eyes a fallen franchise quarterback. That rarely happens in football. Once a quarterback becomes great, he stays great until he retires,” sports writer Mike Florio wrote in NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. “Wilson’s greatness has diminished to the point that some will now wonder if he ever really had much of it.”
To his credit, Florio also said he still believes Wilson can recapture the magic he had when he led the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl. He said better coaching and a game plan custom-tailored to Wilson is necessary.
“But he did. The challenge for the Broncos, who are stuck with Wilson through at least 2025 due to his massive new contract, is to find a way to bring it back,” Florio continued. “It starts with coaching. Designing and selecting plays to get the most out of Wilson. Coaching him aggressively to do what he used to do in Seattle.”
Florio was kinder than most, however.
“I don’t know when Russell Wilson turned into Mitch Trubisky, but I wish he would turn into Gino Smith so they could win a game because Gino makes that play 10 times out of 10,” Good Morning Football’s Kyle Brandt quipped. “I think Russell Wilson is one of the least authentic personalities we have in this league. I think Russell Wilson is a poser; and that doesn’t mean he’s a bad person. I actually think he’s a good person. I think he tries to be something that he’s not and when you make the $245 million dollars, you either got to be a really great guy with the locker room who loves you or you’ve got to be an amazing player.”
Kofie Yeboah, the engagement editor at SB Nation, tweeted in all capital letters, “STOP GIVING RUSSELL WILSON PRIME TIME GAMES.”
“The Russell Wilson slander is warranted, but Matt Ryan was possibly just as equally cheeks,” podcast host Kazeem Famuyide weighed in.
“Denver trading five first and second round picks for Russell Wilson is going to go down as one of the worst trades in NFL history,” sports talk show host Joe Giglio wrote.
“IS IT POSSIBLE RUSSELL WILSON IS NOW EVEN WORSE THAN RUSSELL WESTBROOK?” Skip Bayless tweeted to announce a discussion he was having on the matter.
PHOTO: Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Denver, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)