RENTON — There was nothing unusual, nothing at all dramatic or bombastic, about Russell Wilson’s appearance at the Seahawks’ Organized Team Activities on Tuesday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
He greeted coaches, bumped fists with teammates and went through the brief (40 minutes or so) and rudimentary workout without fanfare. It was a scene that has played out innumerable times throughout a Seattle career that is about to enter its — can this really be true? — 10th season.
Yet the quiet, mundane nature of Wilson’s appearance this week at OTAs is welcome news in itself — maybe the most welcome of the year — when contrasted with the cacophony of the quarterback’s offseason.
It appears that a cease fire of sorts has settled into what had appeared for months to be a contentious relationship between the veteran quarterback and the only NFL organization he has known.
That’s not to say all of Wilson’s concerns have been assuaged, or that issues won’t flare up again, or that we won’t have a reprise next offseason.
But from the moment Wilson posting a clip of an airplane headed toward Seattle on Sunday night, with the caption, “about that time …” it was clear he’s ready to move on to the business of playing football.
For the Seahawks.
This is hugely important, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it indicates that the friction — which coach Pete Carroll claims was overblown, but was undeniably present this year — won’t overtly linger.
While a relief, that’s not a huge surprise, either. It’s hard to envision Wilson going anything but full-bore once he shows up. Even if he remains unhappy about some things, Wilson’s ultimate motivation remains unchanged: to have a great season and lead the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl for the first time since his third NFL season.
That would obviously make everyone happy. Lombardi trophies heal all wounds. But the part Wilson has the most control over is the first: Have a great season. Last year, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers showed performance can be the best revenge, as he posted an MVP campaign despite what we now know, definitively, was growing dissatisfaction with the organization.
The Seahawks made some moves that may have been designed to address Wilson’s grievances, starting with hiring an offensive coordinator that he was on board with. It remains to be seen if Shane Waldron’s offense will suit Wilson’s desires totally, but the fact that he is here in camp, learning the intricacies in person, is a positive sign.
The Seahawks’ veterans had indicated they would skip the voluntary portion of preseason, which includes OTAs. They sat out the first week. But wide receiver DK Metcalf said Tuesday that learning the new offense, which he termed “very intricate,” was one reason the Seahawks veterans decided it was important to show up this week.
“The leaders of the team had a long conversation,” Metcalf said. “And they decided that we should come back, and we all showed up as a team, with a few along the way who are coming later this week.”
Asked his reaction to having Wilson in camp, and whether that was a sign that things are back to normal with him after the noise of the offseason, Metcalf replied: “Yes sir. I mean, I didn’t think things were abnormal, in a way. But just seeing Russ back out here, throwing the ball around with the team, I didn’t expect anything else.”
At times this spring it had been hard to know what to expect. For a stretch of several weeks, Wilson and his people made it clear he was unhappy with the organization on a variety of fronts. It even got to the point where possible trade partners for Wilson were floated.
Few people ever thought a trade was a likely outcome, given the salary-cap ramifications and the extreme unlikelihood of getting a commensurate substitute for Wilson at quarterback. Yet the legitimate tension of the situation made you wonder what would happen when it came time to reconvene for the 2021 season.
Now we have an answer — or at least, a good indication of what it’s going to be. Everyone awaits with tremendous anticipation Wilson’s first news conference since shortly after the Super Bowl. It’s not known precisely when Wilson will take the Zoom microphone, but it could be either this week or next week, when mandatory minicamp takes place.
At that time, Wilson will no doubt address what he was thinking in February and March as the speculation about his future in Seattle grew. And, just as important, he can be expected to delineate his mindset heading into training camp next month, and the season shortly thereafter.
It’s yet another season in which the Seahawks have Super Bowl aspirations. And the fact that Wilson was at the VMAC on Tuesday with a smile on his face, and a football in his hands, increases those chances exponentially.