High Points: DangeRuss and the Denver Broncos
That is the new catch phrase for the Denver Broncos courtesy of the new face of the franchise, quarterback Russell Carrington Wilson, who recites it with such regularity and enthusiasm that it has gone viral. With 5.8 million Twitter followers just about anything No. 3 says will go viral.
Now let’s see if he can be more than just the face of the Denver Broncos (though he does a have a handsome face) but rather, the player who can change the fortunes of a franchise that has been down on its luck since Peyton Manning retired in 2016. We’ll get our first regular season look at Wilson and the Broncos this week when they travel to play his former team, the Seattle Seahawks, in primetime on Monday Night Football. Wilson was a third-round pick of the Seahawks in 2012 who started the first game of his career and 171 of a possible 173 regular and post season games since.
In his second season he led the Seahawks to a 43-8 Super Bowl win over, yes, the Denver Broncos. Much has changed for the Broncos this year. They have a new coach, Nathaniel Hackett, who comes from Green Bay where he coached Aaron Rodgers as the Packers offensive coordinator. They have new ownership in the form of the Walton-Penner Group, which includes (mostly) members of the Walton-as in Walmart family, along with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Mellody Hobson, who is married to filmmaker George Lucas; and Formula 1 racer Lewis Hamilton.
The group paid $4.65 billion for the opportunity to vie with 31 other NFL teams for the Lombardi Trophy. But the spotlight will be shining most brightly upon Russell Wilson who at 33 years old declared at his opening press conference as a Bronco after being traded to the team in March: “My goal is to play 10 or 12 more years and win three or four more Super Bowls.”
Pretty audacious. The Broncos bought into that audacity big time by signing Wilson to a five-year contract extension on Sept. 1 that will keep him here through the 2028 season when he turns 40. At least. The contract calls for a $165 million guaranteed with the potential for a $245 million total payment.
So, who is this guy, Russell Wilson? Well, first he is a Sagittarius (bet you didn’t know that one) who was born on Nov. 29, 1988. He was raised in Richmond, Virginia, and was not only a high school football star but also a class president and a baseball player. He was good enough in baseball to be drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2010 in the fourth round. He played in the minor leagues for the Asheville Tourists and the Tri City (Washington) Dust Devils. Bet you didn’t know that either.
Wilson played three seasons of college football at North Carolina State during which time he lost his father, Benjamin Wilson III, who died of diabetes at the age of 55. He transferred to Wisconsin where he led the Badgers to a 11-3 record and a trip to the Rose Bowl. They lost to Oregon.
He was the 75th pick in the 2012 draft, dropping due to his perceived diminutive stature. DangeRuss is listed as 5 feet, 11 inches, but likes to think, with his hair done just right, that he is at least an inch or two taller. In 2016 he married singer songwriter Ciara (she’s 5-7) in Cheshire, England, and the two now reside with their three children (Win, Sienna and Future) in Cherry Hills Village in a home they recently purchased for $25 million. It is said to have a nine-car garage.
Russ loves other sports and was seen at the US Open this past week with Ciara to watch Serena Williams in her final Grand Slam. He is also a part owner of the Seattle Sounders MLS club and has expressed an aspiration to one day own an NFL franchise. Oh, and in previous seasons at Seattle, Russell often took the field to the sounds of the Seattle fans signing the Phish song “Wilson.” I don’t think we will hear that when he is introduced Monday night in Seattle.
Have a great season and enjoy the game.