Russell Wilson Addresses State Exit as You Would Expect


How did Russell Wilson really feel about leaving NC State? I doubt everyone really had any doubt about it. I think we all assumed that Wilson was not happy about it. Yet we all moved on so smoothly as Wilson went on to success at Wisconsin. Why?

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Wilson had a lot to do with it. Wilson’s diplomatic approach to his apparent dismissal had many of us lose interest in it. Wilson never said a word about former coach Tom O’Brien or how he was handled that I am aware of. His replacement Mike Glennon turned into a pretty good quarterback and has been the part-time starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the last two years.

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That was then, this is now. Russell Wilson has been on top of the world for the last two NFL seasons. If there was ever a time when he could look back at disgust at the doubters, it would be now. In his three years in the League he has done many of things that players only dream of. He beat out a pricey free agent for a starting job. He won a Super Bowl over Peyton Manning. He lost the next one to Tom Brady. Sure the NFL MVP is missing from the list, but that isn’t Wilson’s focus anyway.

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  • Yet given the opportunity by Bryant Gumbel in his HBO Real Sports interview, Wilson could not bring the hammer down on O’Brien for denying him the ability to return to the Wolfpack. The closest he got was:

    “You know, he was my head coach, you know, NC State,” Wilson says. “Kinda kicked me out of NC State a little bit. But, you know, at the same time …”

    There is a lot of restraint there, which I commend Wilson for. I don’t know if he was trying to be polite in what was otherwise a candid interview. Maybe Wilson simply doesn’t register his exit from NC State because it seems unbelievable to him, just as it seemed unbelievable to many of us.

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  • Gumbel called him on this, which allowed Wilson to explain further.

    “Yeah … I’ll never forget it,” Wilson says. “You know, I’ll never forget the times that people have told me that I couldn’t do something.”

    Oddly Wilson still stopped short of criticizing O’Brien. He immediately to a more general statement that explains a lot about Wilson. Whether it was dominating North Carolina because the Heels took Mike Paulus over him, refusing to be a stop gap measure at State, beating Matt Flynn, or winning the Super Bowl, Wilson is fueled by people telling him no.

    This has important repercussions for baseball too, because people (like me) are starting to say Wilson can’t do that. Maybe that is worst thing that we could tell him. The best revenge is living well.