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Russell Wilson Invites Steelers OL to Pirates Game as Thank You

Russell Wilson treated his offensive linemen to some baseball as a thanks for their hard work in the team’s first phase of offseason workouts.



Pittsburgh Steelers QB Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson speaks at a press conference about his contract signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, Friday, March 15, 2024 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Abigail Dean / Pittsburgh Steelers)

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson had a bad rap in Denver and Seattle for lacking leadership and not being a good teammate. Nothing of such has been showcased in Pittsburgh so far, however.

Wilson sat next to Steelers offensive lineman Spencer Anderson at the Penguins game last Saturday night. Anderson was a seventh-round pick out of Maryland last year and is not a marquee name on the roster. That action by Wilson is a far cry from the reports out of Denver that he was out of touch and didn’t relate with anyone in the locker room.

But it was more than just Anderson in the offensive line room that Wilson wanted to thank. In fact, he took a group of the offensive linemen to the Pirates game with him on Friday evening as a kind gesture for their hard work in the team’s first phase of workouts.

“They’ve been working their butts off every day,” Wilson said. “How hard they’ve been working, it was cool. We had the weekend off, so we wanted to be able to celebrate together, hang out together.”

That’s not the only gesutre he has done to try and get a head start on the leadership values in his new locker room. Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth also gave Wilson props for organizing an offseason workout in San Diego. Freiermuth, Calvin Austin III and Van Jefferson attended the workout.

“That was big time,” Freiermuth told Teresa Varley of “He invited us to San Diego and a couple of us went there and got to work out and run routes and get to know each other. That’s big. The relationship on the field is big but building that off field is a big thing. It’s that trust you can bring over to the football field.”

Wilson’s legacy certainly took a big hit in Denver. His play was not up to par with the hefty salary that Denver was dishing out, but his image as a locker room leader was also something that was brought into question during the end of tenure in Seattle and into his stay in Denver.  Multiple sources told Alan Saunders of Steelers Now that by the end of the Wilson’s tenure in Denver, the relationship with Broncos head coach Sean Payton had become toxic.

But was all of that Wilson’s fault, 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 35-year-old quarterback’s behavior.

“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 who had been a younger teammate of Wilson’s in Seattle credited his leadership and mentorship during his time there.