When the Seattle Seahawks ponied up big money for former Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn, almost nobody could have expected that Flynn wouldn’t be the opening-day starter in Seattle. And most of the few folks that did believe that probably thought somebody other than third-round draft pick Russell Wilson would beat Flynn out.
Yet, here we are, and as we approach Week 1 of the NFL season, Wilson has been named the Seahawks’ starter. He shined during the preseason and coach Pete Carroll gave him the opportunity despite the awkward money gap. But Wilson, always confident in himself, says he’s not surprised at all.
Russell Wilson joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss people telling him he couldn’t play because he was too short, why he’s not surprised he’s starting, his relationship with Matt Flynn, how he found out that he was the starter and the scene when he told his wife the news.
How many times did you hear that people loved everything about you but that you weren’t tall enough?:
“I heard that quite often, but I wasn’t going to let that discourage me and the Seattle Seahawks went against the grain, I guess you could say, and they drafted me and gave me an opportunity. I’m just going to keep running with the opportunity. We have a great football team here, and so it’s pretty awesome to play here.”
How surprised are you that you’re the starting quarterback?:
“I’m not surprised at all. I think, more than anything, it’s my work ethic that has prepared me. I’ve done everything that I can to be the best that I can possibly be. … Going against our defense every day, we have a spectacular defense, so going against them every day really prepares me for games.”
How’s the relationship with Matt Flynn?:
“It’s a good relationship. We’re working for one goal and that’s to win. That’s the biggest thing for us. We’re very, very competitive in the sense that we just want to win every game that we can possibly play. … We talk a lot, in terms of the film and everything, so it’s a very positive one.”
What’s the scene like when you find out you’re the starter?:
“Coach Carroll was dribbling the basketball and I just went up and talked to him, he gives me a hug and says, ‘You know Russell, you’ve done a great job. You’ve come here, been a leader, you’ve done everything you can in terms of preparing the right way. And you’ve competed at a very, very high level and I just want to let you know that you’re the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks.’ And I was fired up, I was so ecstatic. Obviously, the fact that everybody said I was too short or couldn’t play in the National Football League. … It’s a dream come true and I’ve just got to keep working. There’s a lot more to do. That’s the fun part and that’s the challenge.”
At any point that he’s telling you that stuff, did you think it would end with Flynn as the starter, but him telling you you’d get your chance at some point?:
“No. I just had a confidence. I always have confidence in myself. I wasn’t necessarily worried about it either way. I knew at some point I’d get the chance to play. I knew that I was ready to start; I knew that I was ready to help lead this football team. I have full confidence in myself.”
How did it go down when you told your wife you were starting?:
“I pretty much slow-played it on her. I kind of acted normal. I just called her … ‘Hey I was just calling you, I didn’t know what you were up to, but I’m just calling to let you know that I’m the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks.'”
How much grief do you give her for her reaction on draft day?:
“I don’t give her grief. She was excited. She was glad we were going to Seattle. … At IMG, we were down there and we had about a month before the combine and we put all the teams in a hat. And I said, ‘You know, I’m just going to shake all the teams up, just for fun, and see what team I pull out.’ Sure enough, Seattle Seahawks. How crazy is that?”
Listen to Russell Wilson on The Dan Patrick Show here (Interview begins at 23:40)