Russell Wilson is now one of the veterans on the current Seattle Seahawks roster, but there was a time when he was proving he belonged in the NFL. During an interview on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Wilson reflected on the Seahawks teams he was part of during his first few NFL seasons admitting there were quite a few fights in practice.
“It [trash talk] was all the time, not just to me but to everybody,” Wilson noted. “Guys talking so much stuff, borderline fighting. I feel like we had a fight every day. If we didn’t have a fight at practice, something was wrong. I think that was a good way to set the tone because we were all underdogs. We were all guys who were late-round picks or whatever it may be. I think that was a thing that helped set the tone for [us].”
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Wilson on His Early Days With the Seahawks: ‘We Had So Much Swagger’
Wilson described the trash talk he received from his defense as happening “all the time.” The Seahawks quarterback credited his early days of playing against the legendary Legion of Boom defense in practice as being a key reason for the success he is having now.
“We had so much attitude,” Wilson reflected on his early days with the Seahawks. “We had so much swagger. We stepped in with so much energy every practice and that really prepared me as a rookie. It really helped me prepare as a rookie. I think that really helped set the tone because if I was going to fight, if I was going to be great, if I wanted to be where I am today, you have to be mentally tough every day at practice. You’re playing one of the best defenses of all-time every day so you get prepared fast. I think that was a huge moment.”
There Was Reportedly Tension Between Wilson & Some Members of the Legion of Boom
Few great teams in sports have a happy ending to their run despite their success. The Legion of Boom era of the Seahawks was no different as the team made difficult decisions to either trade or not re-sign a number of key defensive players including Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett. All three players were critical of the Seahawks on their way out.
There were multiple reports of tension between Wilson and members of the defensive unit. Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop and Robert Klemko reported in 2018 that this tension led to the Seahawks’ decision to overhaul the defense.
“But a dozen sources with direct knowledge of the Seahawks’ internal dynamics who spoke to Sports Illustrated this summer also pointed to a locker room they contend had fractured last season, with private spats spilling into public view and a rift deepening between those who supported Wilson and those who felt the coaches held him to a different standard,” Bishop and Klemko explained. “The overhaul, those sources maintain, was a direct result of that dissension.”
If there was ever a rift, time appears to have healed old wounds as Wilson and Sherman have both publicly praised the other party during recent interviews. Wilson is having the best season of his career and is crediting his success to those early years where he had to prove his worth not only to NFL opponents but his own teammates.