Russell Wilson is the perfect of all examples to kids around the world that want to accomplish their dreams. The Seattle Seahawks quarterback was told all of his football life that he was too short and too small to play the position. From coaches, to scouts, to colleagues, to opponents, to even what everyone sees as the experts in sports media.
Recently, the social media savvy quarterback who loves spending time with his fans decided to send out an important message. In a time where there is so much political turmoil, controversy and, quite frankly, lunacy, Wilson wanted to make sure that the kids who look up to him knew that they could never be counted out of any situation.
“Yep, Oval Office. Is that President Obama? Is that First Lady Michelle? No! That’s me and Ciara!” Wilson exclaimed. “How in the world did that happen? I was sitting here thinking about this, thinking about this moment, thinking about the president of the United States, President Obama. I was thinking about all the things he’s done, being the first African American president ever. The First Lady Michelle, all the amazing things she’s done in her community. I was thinking about Ciara and all the amazing things she’s done in her amazing career and what she’s got going on now, all the positive things. Even me, people tell me I was too small, I was a small town kid and no way I could make it.
“What it made me think about was motivation. I just got done working out and it made me think about young kids all over the world, boys and girls. Go after the dreams that you want, the things that you love, the things that you yearn to make happen, go make it happen. And, you never know, you could be the next president of the United States. Who knows? But, by the way, love you guys. Why not you? And (*Obama voice*) God bless America.”
Wilson’s route to the NFL wasn’t necessarily unique in the fact that he transferred his senior season, but the reasoning behind the transfer was definitely something you wouldn’t expect.
To be a good coach, one must inspire, lead, motivate and trust his players. Wilson’s coach at NC State, Tom O’Brien, apparently needed a lesson on each of those, because what he said to his quarterback prior to his transfer to Wisconsin, should never be said again — but, maybe, it’s exactly the type of motivation Wilson needed. You be the judge.
“The summer before my senior year of college, I’m playing minor-league baseball,” Wilson told NFL.com. “I called my football coach at N.C. State and said, ‘Hey coach, I’d like to come back for my senior year.’ He told me I wasn’t coming back. He said, ‘Listen son, you’re never going to play in the National Football League. You’re too small. There’s no chance. You’ve got no shot. Give it up.’ Of course, I’m on this side of the phone saying, ‘So you’re telling me I’m not coming back to N.C. State? I won’t see the field?’ He said, ‘No son, you won’t see the field.'”
O’Brien settled on Mike Glennon as his starting quarterback. As a Badger, Wilson ended up tossing 33 touchdown passes to just four interceptions. He threw for over 3,100 yards and ran for another six scores. He averaged a career-best 10.3 yards per attempt and finished the year with a rating of 191.8. He led his team to a Big 10 Championship. The shocker, here, is that there were still scouts who said he was too small to play quarterback in the big leagues. Plenty of so-called experts still had their doubts about how Wilson’s game would translate to the pros. As a result, his draft stock never exactly soared.
As a third round pick by the Seahawks in the 2012 NFL Draft, Wilson came in as a likely backup candidate. The organization had just given Matt Flynn $26 million over three years in March of that year, so Wilson was primed to sit at least a year — or so it seemed. After all, Flynn had shown potential in the 2011-2012 season finale against the Detroit Lions where he threw for 480 yards and a whopping six touchdown passes.
As training camp got underway, head coach Pete Carroll saw something that nobody else expected that early on. Wilson looked good — really good. The rest is history as Wilson won the starting gig as a rookie and has since played in two Super Bowls, winning one of them. Glennon, on the other hand? Just go ahead and do a google search and you’ll figure out how much more success Wilson has had since being told he had been replaced. O’Brien has to have been kicking himself since.
From day one, Wilson has not only been a phenomenal football player as a pro, but he has proved to be one of the classiest. Wilson decided early on that every Tuesday he would visit a children’s hospital in Seattle and spend all day with the kids. He would bring them official apparel and memorabilia from the team, sign countless autographs, play games, sing songs, dance, hang out with the families of the kids — every single Tuesday. Here’s the kicker: The week of Wilson’s first Super Bowl appearance, Super Bowl XLVIII, Wilson flew back across the country from New Jersey to Seattle to be with the kids on the Tuesday of game week. While he could have spent that day preparing for the big game, talking to the media, or finishing countless other items on his busy agenda, he chose to stay true to his tradition — spend time with the kids.
Wilson’s message to kids everywhere comes at a great time. While there is so much going on in the world, and it is hard for anyone to turn on a television these days and feel safe with their kids around, his message rings truer than ever before. This country, this world, they need this up and coming generation to rise up and be the change. This world is chock full of talented infants, toddlers, kids and teenagers. Wilson’s words should continue to inspire them to follow their dreams and strive to make this world a better place.