It all happened so fast for Russell Wilson.
One season, he was leading Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl, breaking passing records along the way. The next, he was an NFL rookie, surprising everyone as an elite quarterback before the leaves began to change color.
Then, snap, Wilson won a Super Bowl.
It only took three years for Wilson to go from Madison to the top of Manhattan, where the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII in February. Many quarterbacks take their entire careers to go through that kind of progression. Still young, Wilson will face a new obstacle this fall.
For the first time, Wilson will know what it's like to have the target on his back as a champion.
"I just try to remain humble and just realize that I'm so blessed to be where I am, so blessed to be the starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks," Wilson said Sunday afternoon. "I've worked extremely hard at it."
Wilson said he received advice this offseason from New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, as well as former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan. Both are champions in their own right, with Brees leading the Saints to a win in Super Bowl XLIV and Jordan winning six NBA championships with the Bulls.
Jordan extended Wilson an invitation to his golf tournament this offseason. It was an opportunity for the former Badgers quarterback to pick the wisdom of one of the most competitive, successful athletes ever.
"The thing that he said is being able to lead, being able to bring the others with you and, also, being the one that's always the first one there and the last one to leave, to take the extra shots, to help the young guys and do all the things that you can," Wilson said. "I think you just have to do that much more. Human nature wants to fight against that. Human nature wants you to naturally relax and not improve.
"One of the things I'm trying to do – and our team collectively – is to fight that and to continue to improve and continue to stay focused on one mission, and that's going 1-0 every week."
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