Russell Wilson has been receiving waves of support from many after he was benched by the Denver Broncos in what’s become a debacle for the franchise’s quarterback.
It was head coach Sean Payton’s decision to sit Wilson for the final two games of the regular season despite this past week seeing a chance at making the playoffs. Jarrett Stidham led Denver to a needed victory. However, the playoff picture dropped the Broncos into elimination, rendering Week 18 a meaningless game.
The likes of Aaron Rodgers, as well as Jason and Travis Kelce, have shown sympathy toward Wilson for what’s going on in Denver.
Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins, who played for the Broncos, can’t fathom watching what’s gone on in the facility either.
“Absolutely poorly handled, absolutely,” he told Fox News Digital while discussing the benefits of Nirvana Super wellness beverages have had in his fitness journey post-career. “Once again, you talk about the leader of a team. The leader of a team is also the coach. How the coach then goes about doing things goes a long way into speaking to everybody on how they will be treated, or can be treated, at any given time.”
“As a player, there’s no way I want to see my quarterback being done the way Russell has been done and believing and trusting in that dude, ultimately, from a grand perspective, is what I’m talking about. So, to me, it was absolutely butchered the way that thing was handled and how Russell has been treated in that organization, especially by the head coach.”
Dawkins noted that if he was a player in the locker room, he would continue to keep his head down and play for victories. That’s what the Broncos did, including Wilson, who led Denver to three straight wins after he said they came to him with the contract ultimatum.
But the Broncos lost three of his last four starts before Stidham took over in Week 17.
The primary reason for Wilson’s benching has to do with his massive contract, and Wilson said he refused to take a pay cut when asked by the team. While speaking to reporters, he said the team would bench him if he didn’t change his contract or injury guarantee.
“We beat the Chiefs. They came up to me at the beginning of the bye week, Monday or Tuesday, and told me that if I didn’t change my contract, my injury guarantee, that I’d be benched for the rest of the year. … I was definitely disappointed about it.”
Wilson said the league and the NFLPA got involved.
“I understand all the speculation and everything that surrounds a move like that, and I can tell you we’re desperately trying to win,” Payton said of the situation. “Sure, in our game today there are economics and all those other things, but the No. 1 push behind this … is to get a spark offensively.”
Wilson’s five-year, $245 million contract he signed last year kicks in next season, but his estimated $37 million in 2025 salary will become fully vested in March. An injury to Wilson during the season would then put the Broncos’ financial situation in a bind.
“It definitely hurt. It was a low blow for a bit,” Wilson said of the contract request by the Broncos. “At the end of the day, I just want to keep my head down and try to do what I can do each play, each game, each moment.”
And perhaps the 35-year-old Wilson sees his fate in the NFL after posting to X.
“God’s got me,” he wrote this past Thursday. “Looking forward to what’s next.”
What Wilson’s NFL future looks like is in limbo, but he has many in his corner, including Dawkins, who believe this business tactic by Denver was a cruel one.
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