ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Russell Wilson’s defensive teammates have quickly learned about their quarterback’s ability to operate on the move.
On plenty of occasions this offseason, Wilson has taken off and made something happen — and that approach isn’t limited to the football field.
In the months since joining the Broncos, Wilson has made a hospital visits in Seattle and Denver, attended an event at the White House, jetted off to a Formula 1 race in Monaco and — most recently — spoken to recent graduates in Hanover, New Hampshire .
Over the weekend, Wilson delivered the commencement address at Dartmouth College, where his father and three of his uncles attended school. Wilson joked Monday that he may or may not have had the grades to get into Dartmouth, but the winter weather during a visit in eighth or ninth grade was enough to cross the school off his list.
The opportunity to return and honor his late father, though, was clearly meaningful to the Broncos’ quarterback.
“It meant a lot,” Wilson said. “To have my brother there, Ciara there. My mom unfortunately couldn’t come but she watched live. It was just special. My sister couldn’t come but she watched live too. It’s just an amazing moment to be able to talk about his legacy and what he meant. The coolest part of the whole entire thing, I got there on Saturday and I had a few people come up to me and they just talked about my dad and what he meant to them and very successful people — people that were former teachers there, [Dartmouth football coach] Buddy Teens. It really meant a lot to me, and I think that’s just a blessing. And hopefully I can be a mere fraction of what my dad was to other people.”
Perhaps just as impressive as Wilson’s message to the Dartmouth graduates has been his ability to effectively balance his obligations with his career. That process, Wilson explained, stems from a simple understanding.
“Football’s the No. 1 priority,” Wilson said. “That’s why it never suffered. I think you do everything you can to spend the extra time, get here early, leave late, do all that stuff. One of the things that I believe in is you pour your whole self into it. No matter where my feet are, I’m going to pour everything I have into it. So when I’m here — and even when I’m away from here and everything else — the coaches and I are constantly talking. Players [and I are] constantly talking. That investment into players getting better and trying to help them and vice versa, it’s a key thing.”
A loaded schedule is nothing new for Wilson, who has always aimed to maximize his time. In college, Wilson was a two-sport athlete whose schedule was always packed.
“As life grows, I’ve always been busy,” Wilson said. “Everybody is always shocked at how busy I am. I’m like, ‘You think this is busy?’ I took 18 credits every semester in college, played two sports. Went to football lifts in the morning, then went to class, then went to baseball. Played all night until 11 o’clock [p.m.], then I did my homework. That was busy. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Wilson’s current lifestyle may seem easy to manage in comparison, and he’s mastered the way to keep football his top priority. His performance team joins him on each trip, and he counts on others to keep the logistics running smoothly.
“Everybody’s super organized and so there’s never wasted space,” Wilson said. “I think that’s the key thing, never wasting space.”
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett, who in Green Bay worked with another quarterback with plenty of obligations, praised Wilson’s ability to handle his responsibilities.
“When it first started you’re like, ‘Whoa, are you going to be able to pick all this stuff up? Are we going to be able to own the offense like we want to?'” Hackett said. “But he does such a great job of surrounding himself with great people that help him out so he can do all these things and still focus solely on football. It’s unbelievable to watch and just watch every single second he has, he’s nonstop working. If he’s on a plane, he’s watching film, he’s studying, he’s calling people, he’s calling me. That’s what you appreciate. Everybody’s professional, everybody does things different. Some people are here and they might not work even as hard as he does when he’s leaving. I think that everybody’s different and he does a fantastic job learning everything.”
Wilson, of course, understands that his ability to spend his time in such a manner is a blessing.
“To be able to do fortunate things, to be able to speak at Dartmouth, obviously to support Ciara, my wife, and to do things with other guys, hang out when we can, it means a lot,” Wilson said. “One thing that I’ve always believed in is it’s a lifestyle. You have to make your whole entire being and your thought process about winning and about being successful.”