Connect with us

Steelers News

Sources: Russell Wilson Denver Drama Overblown: ‘Great in the Locker Room’



Pittsburgh Steelers Russell Wilson

One of the things that I set out to learn at the 2024 NFL Combine in Indianapolis was whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers had real interest in singing Russell Wilson, and if Wilson would actually be interested in coming to Pittsburgh to compete with Kenny Pickett as the Steelers’ starting quarterback.

I failed in that goal. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette got the scoop on Thursday that the Steelers are meeting with Wilson before the start of free agency and have interest in signing him.

While I didn’t learn what I hoped to learn, in asking a lot of people about the Steelers and Wilson, I did learn some interesting things about the man himself that seem prescient, given the news of the day.

One of the biggest reasons that Wilson is available is that not only did things not go very well during his tenure in Denver, but Wilson has now been a part of two fairly dramatic breakups with organizations in three seasons.

Pittsburgh Steelers OC Search Darrell Bevell Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) talks with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on the sideline during a timeout in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. The Buccaneers won 14-5. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

He helped engineer his own exit from Seattle after agitating for the Seahawks to give him freer rein in the passing game and coming up short when they did. In Denver, there was drama about parking spots and office space, and multiple sources told Steelers Now that by the end of the his tenure there, 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.

Wilson is 35 years old and expecting him to be the Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback in his younger days would probably be folly. But if the Steelers are interested in the player that Wilson is right now, off-the-field concerns likely shouldn’t get in their way.