Russell Wilson's athleticism was on display with a 4.55-second 40-yard dash at the 2012 combine. Credit: Getty Images
No one needs to be introduced to Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. But the same can’t be said for relative newcomer Russell Wilson — Manning’s opposite in Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVIII.
Seattle’s second-year signal caller is getting a chance to introduce himself to a national audience this postseason. And there’s no bigger stage than a Super Bowl to do so.
“He won me over so quickly,” Seahahwks veteran tight end Zach Miller said at Monday’s media session. “The first thing I noticed was that he’s a playmaker. He was making these throws where I would think, ‘Wow. This guy’s got it.’ And he just wants to win so badly. You love playing with a guy like that. He makes you better.”
Wilson had to win over teammates quickly because he was never supposed to be in this position to begin with. He was drafted in the third round in the 2012 NFL Draft and seen mostly as an undersized (5-foot-11, 206 pounds) mobile quarterback.
Even the Seahawks didn’t see him as a starter, signing Matt Flynn, Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay, in March 2012 and expecting Wilson to spend at least the 2012 season, if not a few more, on the bench.
Head coach Pete Carroll praised his front office for bringing in the leader of his offense.
“It’s real common for people to say, ‘Hey, we loved that guy too,’” Carroll said Monday. “[General manager] John Schneider led the charge on this thing. John had it pegged perfectly where it happened for us. He had been sweating it out in the second round.” Flynn struggled with injuries in preseason and Wilson won the job on the field.
Wilson had used fellow undersized quarterback Drew Brees as a guide, saying Sunday at his first press conference in New Jersey he looked up to him since Brees played in college at Purdue.
“When I went to Wisconsin, that’s when I really started watching him. I watched every single throw that he made the year before in the National Football League,” Wilson said Sunday. “I’ve read his book several times, and he’s just great inspiration. He’s a guy that does things right, a guy that is a great leader and he’s so poised in big situations.”
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