ESPN’s Ryan Clark says Sean Payton has ‘behaved like a thug’ with Broncos, Russell Wilson

It seems like there has been a bit of bad blood between Russell Wilson and his Denver Broncos in recent weeks.

The team announced that it was benching Wilson, a nine-time Pro Bowler whom they sent first-round picks to get, for the final two games of the season.

Many assumed it was because of Wilson’s contract, and the 35-year-old confirmed that was the case earlier this week.

However, ESPN analyst and former NFL pro Ryan Clark believes there is a lot of animosity between Wilson and head coach Sean Payton, which has stemmed since Day 1.


Clark says Payton has treated Wilson unfairly from the moment he got to Denver, and gave a harsh insult.

“Sean Payton has behaved as a thug since he became the coach of the Denver Broncos,” Clark quipped.

Clark said Payton was telling Wilson how to act from the get-go, despite never doing such with Drew Brees when the two were side by side in New Orleans.

“Immediately when he gets in the building, he starts to undercut Russell Wilson personally and professionally from his first press conference on. He tells Russell Wilson ‘you have to stop kissing babies and stop behaving as if you’re running for office.’ Nobody kissed more babies in New Orleans than Drew Brees. Period. Point blank.

“From the beginning, he walked into this building and he had a point to prove with Russell Wilson — ‘You’re gonna be just like everybody else. I’m gonna treat you just like I treat everybody else on the team.’ That’s not the way it works with franchise quarterbacks. With a franchise quarterback, he’s talked to differently, there are conversations instead of being talked back. You don’t berate them on the sideline. . . . We watched Sean Payton in New Orleans for a decade and a half never treat his quarterback this way. Now as you move forward . . . this was just a means to an end for Sean Payton. This was going to happen at some point.

“I don’t believe there was a thing Russell Wilson could do to make Sean Payton like him. I think from a personality standpoint, it was a bad match. I think schematically, it was a bad match. Let’s hold Sean Payton to some sort of professional accountability. His behavior as the head coach of the Denver Broncos is unacceptable. If I’m the Walton family, I do not want someone representing me this way.”

Despite being “disappointed” by the ultimatum, Wilson wants to move on.

“Every day you wake up, you realize it’s a gift to play this game,” Wilson said. “I’m grateful for that. I hope that it’s here. And I hope that it’s here for a long time. If it’s not here, then I’ll be prepared to do that somewhere else. But I hope that it’s here.”

The Broncos are 7-8, hanging on by a thread to playoff hopes. They host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

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