The last player off the field Sunday was the last player Seahawks fans want to see go.
The last player off the field Sunday was the best player this team has ever had.
The last player off the field Sunday waved his arms to pump up the crowd and signed dozens of autographs before disappearing into the tunnel.
Because the last player off the field Sunday has to know that that may have been his last game as a Seattle Seahawk.
This 2021 season has been the roughest in quarterback Russell Wilson’s 10-year career. It is the first one in which he missed any time due to an injury (three games with a finger injury) and the first one in which he’ll finish with a losing record.
He also has missed on a host of throws that likely would have altered outcomes had he been on target. If we’re talking strictly about football, this is the year he’d most want to extract from his memory.
Of course, if one were to examine Wilson’s decade playing at Lumen Field, the blissful memories would overwhelm the bitter ones. Two NFC championship wins and an array of fourth-quarter comebacks — all to the soundtrack of a deafening fanbase.
This isn’t the house that Wilson built, but he’s had the master bedroom for the past several years. So you could imagine the emotion he must have felt as fans were chanting his name several minutes after Sunday’s 51-29 win over the Lions.
“I was just thinking about joy,” Wilson said. “I was thinking about our fans. I was thinking about just what a special moment, just be able to win this game at home for our fans and for them to feel that energy again.”
Three days earlier, Wilson gave an unsolicited statement about his future in Seattle. He said that “I know for me personally, I hope it’s not my last (home) game (as a Seahawk), but at the same time, I know it won’t be my last game in the NFL.”
Questioned about those words after Sunday’s win, Wilson insisted that he wasn’t trying to generate any speculation. He was then asked again if he expects to be in Seattle next season, to which he replied, “I hope so.”
Hey, Wilson has a no-trade clause in his contract, so ultimately it’s up to him. But at the same time — would you expect him to say anything else?
Wilson was obviously disgruntled last offseason when he expressed his frustration about all the sacks he’s been taking in Seattle. He admitted that watching the Super Bowl from the stands triggered his discontent regarding postseason failure, and later released a list of four teams to which he’d be willing to be traded.
It’s hard to think that this offseason won’t beget similar drama given the Seahawks’ 6-10 record. However, if this was Wilson’s final game at home as a Seahawk, he tied a lovely ribbon on his Hall of Fame-worthy stint.
Sunday, No. 3 completed 20 of 29 passes for 236 yards and four touchdowns while throwing no interceptions. He tossed three TD passes to DK Metcalf along with a dime to Tyler Lockett in the end zone.
His efficiency, combined with Rashaad Penny’s rushing (Penny finished with 170 yards on 25 carries), are the primary reasons Seattle was up 31-7 at halftime. And though it can’t be overstated that this came against the Lions — the 2-13-1 Lions! — it was still a satisfying victory lap for a man that may be Seattle’s most beloved active athlete.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that Wilson spends several more years in a Seahawks jersey. His contract runs through the 2023 season, and his ties to this town are palpable.
Sunday, he gushed about the $2.7 million his foundation raised for pediatric cancer research at Seattle Children’s — a hospital he visits nearly every Tuesday during the season. The cachet he has developed during his time in Seattle likely wouldn’t be matched in another city.
Will that factor into where he wants to play next year? Maybe, maybe not. But it is possible that the Seahawks and Wilson would benefit from a trade.
From Wilson’s standpoint, he could go to a contender that gives him the best shot to win three more Super Bowls — his stated goal in Thursday’s news conference. The Seahawks, meanwhile, could unload a massive contract while collecting draft capital to help build for the future.
It’s all guesswork — guesswork that will be amplified once the season’s over. But it’s on the minds of everyone who cares about this organization.
Sunday, Wilson wasn’t all that interested in talking about his future. He said he was too uplifted by the win to think about anything else.
“You can’t get me in a bad mood,” he said.
That was clear. But if he isn’t back in Seattle next year, the bad moods will be ever-present.