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ESPN Analyst Sends Blunt Message to Russell Wilson

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Pittsburgh Steelers QB Russell Wilson

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson is heading into a make-or-break year. At 35, this most likely will be his last chance to resurrect a once promising career.

If Wilson can’t flourish in Pittsburgh, ESPN’s Booger McFarland thinks the nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion should just hang it up.

“If he can’t get it done in this offense, he might as well go ahead and retire and get a tee time with me, (Dan) Orlovsky and (Dan) Graziano,” McFarland said recently on ESPN Live.

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Russell Wilson

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson at the team’s mandatory minicamp, June 11, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Wilson’s legacy certainly got tarnished in Denver. There’s no doubt about it. I mean, Mark Schlereth is still constantly bashing him.

Wilson is in a much better situation now with Mike Tomlin as his head coach. He just never saw eye to eye with Sean Payton.

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. Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette thinks Payton went out of his way to publicly embarrass Wilson.

“One thing that always struck a cord with me about Russell Wilson’s tenure in Denver was Sean Payton went out of his way to make things difficult with their relationship,” Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said during an appearance on 93.7 The Fan on Friday. “Really putting a Super Bowl-winning veteran quarterback in places that were just odd for me to see him. The way he talked about him in the media. His body language in games, the yelling on the sidelines. You don’t see that every day.”

“Sean Payton does have a reputation in the NFL of being a guy who’s difficult to deal with. So that’s another reason I want to give Russell the benefit of the doubt with the Steelers,” Fittipaldo added. “Sometimes just getting away from a toxic coach can be a good thing. Maybe you get into a more positive situation. Maybe you can get back to where you were in Seattle. … That whole Sean Payton thing always struck me as odd, the way he treated Russell Wilson.”

Wilson has been nothing but a leader since arriving in Pittsburgh. He’s also embraced the city. This could be a comeback year for him. All the pieces are in place, but Wilson will have to prove it on the field.