There’s innuendo from some that Wilson will be diminished as a quarterback, or distracted as a teammate, by his leap into the celebrity world. But when training camp begins July 30, I expect nothing less than a continuation of the mastery Wilson displayed last season.
First comes love, then comes marriage,
Then come haters who try to disparage — Common playground song, 2016 version
When training camp opens in three weeks and Seahawks teammates ask Russell Wilson how his offseason went, they might have to settle in for a long stay.
Where to begin? With the Mexican vacation where Wilson and Ciara rode off into the sunset on horseback, then frolicked in the ocean? Or maybe the European vacation where Wilson went down on one knee and proposed while on a beach picnic at sunset?
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Maybe with the trip to Las Vegas, where Ciara gave a concert and showed off her 16-carat engagement ring? Or the helicopter ride Wilson gave Ciara around Seattle? Or the outings to watch the Team USA soccer quarterfinal in Copa America or Game 7 of the NBA Finals in Oakland?
Maybe Russell could regale them with some leftover tales from the Superhero-themed surprise 30th birthday party he threw last October for his then-girlfriend Ciara, complete with Batman and Batgirl suits and a spin in the Batmobile?
Oh, yeah, then there’s the matter of their Wednesday wedding, a modest castle affair in England with just 100 of his closest friends, conducted in complete isolation (except for the paparazzi shots seen by millions worldwide).
Of course, this locker-room scenario is unlikely, because no one has to ask the quarterback what he’s been up to. The Wilsons — it’s Twitter official now — have done a spectacular job of chronicling their exploits on social media. I don’t think that was an option when Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were in their heyday. Russell and Ciara always seemed to have a personal photographer around to capture their blissful moments.
I won’t begin to theorize about the cultural impact of all this, because no one is interested in the old-fogey perspective. The last super couple I felt qualified to analyze was the Captain and Tennille. (Although I still can’t fathom what she saw in him. It couldn’t have been that stupid hat. Could it?)
What I will address is the innuendo from some quarters that Wilson somehow will be diminished as a quarterback, or distracted as a teammate, by his leap into the celebrity world.
Now, you can roll your eyes at how eagerly Wilson seems to be embracing the glitterati. You can come up with one of those “clever” nicknames for this power duo, along the lines of “Bennifer” or “Brangelina” or “TomKat” (I nominate “Russiara”). You can bemoan the fact that TMZ and People have surpassed Sports Illustrated and ESPN.com to find news on Wilson.
It’s a good thing camp doesn’t start next week, mind you. Judging by the photos of a haggard Wilson emerging from the castle with Ciara on Thursday to embark on their honeymoon, the QB looks like he could have used a carton of Recovery Water. And I think I speak for the world when I say we could all have lived quite happily ever after without the TMZ video clip of the happy couple talking coyly about their wedding night.
But when Seattle’s training camp commences July 30, I expect nothing less than a continuation of the mastery Wilson displayed last season, when he took his game to the stratosphere in the second half.
After throwing 10 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in the first nine games, Wilson threw 19 TD strikes with no interceptions over the next five. No quarterback in history had thrown three or more TDs and no interceptions in five consecutive games. Wilson seemed to have total grasp of the new-look Seattle offense that emphasized a quicker passing attack.
The numbers were glittering, including Seahawks season records for passing yards (4,024), passing TDs (34) and QB rating (110.1, tops in the NFL). And during the Seahawks’ three-day minicamp last month, coach Pete Carroll gushed about Wilson’s progress entering his fifth season: “He’s made a clear step ahead, and his command is like all time.”
By all accounts, Wilson trained as hard as ever this offseason, amid the so-called distractions. I’d even wager to say his spring and summer weren’t any more whirlwind than those of the average player; it’s just that every move he made, seemingly, wound up on social media. Not that the happy couple did much to hide out under the radar; in fact, they appeared to provide their own radar, if necessary.
Wilson always has seemed oblivious to potential distractions, whether it be his divorce in 2014 or his protracted contract negotiations in 2015. One can only think that marrying Ciara will bring him nothing but joy and contentment, and that’s never a bad thing, right? Happy wife, happy life, productive quarterback. Or something like that.
As for life in the white-hot celebrity spotlight, well, it hasn’t hurt Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen. I’d like to be the 83,262nd to wish Russell and Ciara (oops, I mean Russiara) much happiness and a long life together. In fact, I have a feeling I’ll be watching much of it unfold, tweet by tweet.
Meanwhile, I fully expect Wilson to greet 2016 with keen focus and the cumulative skill he has honed from four years in the NFL. You could argue he’s entering his peak, and that should be immensely fun to watch.
Almost as much fun as me in my old captain’s hat.