There’s no doubt that Russell Wilson has played himself in the realm of Seahawks royalty for the past 10 years, but Monday night at Lumen Field he might not receive a reception that’s usually befitting a king.
Since he is traded to the Denver Broncos in March after a decade-long career with the Seahawks during which he became arguably Seattle’s most recognizable sports figure, Wilson praised his new environment. Last week, he signed a five-year contract extension worth up to $245 million that will keep him in Orange and blue Broncos until 2028.
Suffice to say, Seahawks fan sentiment is strong. To some, he’s a hero deserving of a standing ovation for bringing home a Super Bowl title in 2014. To others, he joined former Mariners star Alex Rodriguez as Benedict Arnold of all time. in Seattle.
In front of a nationwide audience on Monday night, Wilson could hear an unfamiliar sound from the 12s.
Regardless of the reception it receives, it’s clear the Seahawks community — including fans and business partners — is changing.
What this means
One of Wilson’s most visible local partners, Alaska Airlines, said last week it would soon “end” its relationship with Wilson, who has served as the company’s “chief football officer” since 2013.
The airline is also mothballing the four Wilson aircraft models, or “books,” it has launched in recent years. The most recent livery was unveiled in September 2021.
“Russell Wilson holds a special place in our hearts as Chief Football Officer (CFO) of Alaska,” Alaska spokesman Ray Lane said in a company response. “Russell will always be a friend of Alaska and our relationship over the years has been amazing. We wish him all the best on his move to Denver. The Russell Wilson aircraft livery has been retired. At this time, we do not intend to appoint a new CFO.
At the Locker Room by Lids store on Occidental Avenue in Seattle, the sales shelves are now filled with Wilson jerseys at 50% off. While a regular Wilson jersey once cost fans $120, now you can pick one up for just $60. A sewn version costs $75.
Throughout his 10-year stint in Seattle, during which he became the franchise’s all-time leading passer and winningest quarterback, Wilson’s was among the store’s most popular jerseys. This year though, fans looking to buy the jersey of a current Seahawks quarterback will have to wait, as store manager Ryan Van Ausdall said the store has no plans to order Geno jerseys anytime soon. Smith or Drew Lock.
Van Ausdall says the most popular jerseys these days are either wide receiver DK Metcalf or the No. 12 “Fan”. With so much upheaval and uncertainty surrounding the squad lately, the No.12 seems like a safe bet.
“You could say the team is in a rebuilding phase,” Van Ausdall said. “People don’t really know if Tyler Lockett or DK Metcalf or Jamal Adams or anyone could be traded. They don’t really know what team leadership is.”
At the Seahawks Pro Shop, Wilson jerseys are down to $65, and all other Wilson memorabilia are also half off.
The LR&C House, a retail store owned by Wilson and his wife Ciara, apparently was unaffected by the quarterback’s departure. The company closed its location in Seattle’s University Village in June after just five months, but opened stores at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood and Factoria Outlet Mall in Bellevue, as well as in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Lone Tree, in Colorado.
Seattle Villain Russell Wilson
Many Seahawks loyalists continue to have raw feelings about Wilson’s departure, six months away from his trade to the Broncos.
For some fans, there just hasn’t been enough time to give him a warm welcome, although many understand his decision to take his footballing skills to the sunnier climes of Colorado.
“I think booing is mean, and Russ doesn’t really deserve it,” Seahawks fan Matt G. Hall tweeted. “He wants to play on a winning team and he didn’t think Seattle could offer him that yet. That being said, I would still boo the [expletive] out of it.
For some, the grudge isn’t about Wilson leaving the team, but about how he did it.
After spending 10 years as the face of the franchise, ending every press conference with “Go Hawks!” and saying he wanted to be a “Seahawk for Life” in 2019 when he signed his last contract, Wilson informed the team he probably wouldn’t sign another long-term extension at Seattleapparently frustrated with the direction of the offense under Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.
“I think Russell will end up being booed by the fans,” Seahawks fan Breezie McGrath said of Monroe. “The way he left the team – justified or not – left a lot of hurt fans in his wake, and I’m sure they will make that hurt known. As for how he should be received, I I’m inclined to say he should be respected, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t boo him myself.
Seattle Hero Russell Wilson
For others, Wilson’s myriad accomplishments with the Seahawks overshadow the sting of his departure. With two Super Bowl appearances, a title and plenty of playoff memories ahead of 12, Wilson earned a level of goodwill from fans that few Seattle athletes before him have come close to achieving.
Although his departure stings for fans, these memorable moments will elicit a polite response from at least some of those in attendance on Monday.
“I think Russ will get mostly boos, but I think he deserves the cheers. Out loud,” said Everett-based fan Chris Leeper. franchise for 10 years,… He wanted to stay but the [organization] chose Pete [Carroll] on him, which they will regret.
For others, the cheers will come down the road. Feelings are still too strong for a positive reception, even for the best quarterback in team history.
“The second he retires and returns to be inducted into the Ring [of] Honour, I applaud him with pleasure. He’s a legend,” said fan Dylan Jenkins. “He’s also a cornball who wanted to leave town. If I could be present [I don’t know] if I was booing, but I certainly wouldn’t be cheering.
A good number of other people agreed that Wilson would likely get a mixed reaction when he steps onto the court. Polite applause at the start, in honor of all the 2012 third-round pick has accomplished with the team and made for the communitybut a big roar if he gets fired or throws an interception.
“I’ll give a courteous round of golf during the presentation — I’m grateful for the good times and the Super Bowl championship,” Portland-based Seahawks fan Brian Becker said in part. “But – I’m going to clap wildly every time he makes a mistake.”