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Analyst Predicts Steelers-Broncos in Week 1 on MNF

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Pittsburgh Steelers Russell Wilson

The date and time of the Steelers-Broncos game in 2024 will be a marquee thing to look at when the schedule is released in May. Russell Wilson returning to Denver to face his arch nemesis Sean Payton is must-see TV.

Adam Rank of NFL.com thinks the NFL has to schedule the Wilson “revenge game” in Week 1 on Monday Night Football. It would be a disservice not to. There’s also the possibility that Wilson will eventually get overthrown by Justin Fields as the starter, so an early season game makes sense.

“There is no way the NFL could send Russell Wilson to face his former team to open the season on Monday Night Football again … right? That would be the funniest thing ever, and I sort of hope it happens. For one, it would give Russ another chance right out of the gate to defeat his former team at their place, something he wasn’t able to do against the Seahawks two years ago. Also, the schedule-makers might want to consider doing this matchup early in the season, because Justin Fields could end up being the Steelers’ starter at some point in 2024.”

Wilson was benched by Payton for the final two games of the season. The two never saw eye to eye, which set up Wilson’s departure after a dreadful two years in Denver. The Broncos will take on an $85 million hit in dead money on its salary cap over the next two seasons because of Wilson’s release. The Broncos are also paying Wilson nearly $38 million this year to play for the Steelers, who will only pay him just over $1 million on a veteran minimum contract.

There’s a lot of bad blood between Wilson and Payton, for sure. One veteran AFC personnel executive even told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN that Payton never liked Wilson from Day 1.

“Sean never liked him as the guy from Day 1 and went out of his way to make that known,” the source said.

Payton ripped into Wilson on the sideline during a game in Detroit this past season. It seemed more personal than a coach just letting a player have it.

There was also a report by The Athletic that members of Denver’s coaching staff believed that Wilson having his own office in the team facility, on the second floor where the Broncos’ coaches and executives have their offices, was bad for the the camaraderie of the team.

One coach said Wilson told teammates the door to his office was always open to them, but that coach wondered why a player had an office with a door at all.

“So, are you a coach or are you a player?” the coach asked. “Your open door should be you sitting at your locker.”

Another coach said having the office on the second floor separated Wilson from the players.

“The players were always on the first floor; they never really came up to the second floor,” the coach said. “If you came up to the second floor as a player, it honestly wasn’t a good thing because you were probably getting released.”

Multiple sources told Alan Saunders of Steelers Now that by the end of Wilson’s tenure in Denver, the relationship with Broncos head coach Sean Payton had become toxic.

But was all of that the fault of Wilson, or was he just a part of a few bad situations. In conversations with several sources close to the Broncos and former teammates of Wilson’s, no one was willing to offer a cogent criticism of the behavior of the 35-year-old quarterback.

“All of that is overblown,” one Broncos source told Steelers Now. “He’s a great guy and great in the locker room.”

Another league source said that while the personalities between Payton and Wilson were “oil and water,” it was more of a bad fit between the two than any specific fault of one or the other. A player that had been a younger teammate of Wilson’s in Seattle credited his leadership and mentorship during his time there.

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Jesus Christani
Jesus Christani
April 2, 2024 10:37 am

“Payton ripped into Wilson on the sideline during a game in Detroit this past season. It seemed more personal than a coach just letting a player have it.” Evilness on the part of Sean Payton is all it was… That devil would have loved for Russell to respond harshly so he could’ve, falsely, suspended him based on conduct detrimental to the team… That FOOL coach wanted Russell to drop his injury guarantee clause… Who’s The Fool? Russ said, “Mama didn’t raise no fool so you, Sean Payton, must be the one… Sean Payton, stupidly, calls out a former head coach… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Jesus Christani