Russell Wilson covered a number of topics in his usual Thursday press conference, ranging from the first football game of his life to this week's opponent to the use of new tight end Jimmy Graham.
Here are five things that stood out from Wilson's Week 3 session with the media:
1. Wilson has fond memories of playing against the Chicago Bears.
One of the defining moments of Wilson's impressive rookie campaign came in Chicago when the Seahawks traveled to Soldier Field in Week 13. Up to that point in the 2012 season, the Seahawks were 1-5 on the road, and at 6-5, they had a lot of work to if they were going to make the playoffs. In that game, Wilson led a 97-yard touchdown drive late in regulation to give Seattle the lead, then when the Bears tied the game to send it to overtime, Wilson and the offense drove 80 yards for the winning touchdown. That was the first of five straight wins to end the regular season for Seattle, which earned a wild card berth and went on to win a playoff game in Washington before falling just short in Atlanta.
"We were on the road, Soldier Field, great, great stadium, great crowd," Wilson said. "… It was just kind of a turning point, I think that just having to step up to the challenge."
Wilson uses that game and his success as a rookie as an example to other young players to encourage them to not let their inexperience be a limitation.
"I tell Tyler Lockett all the time, it's one of those things that if you have the confidence in yourself and all that, it doesn't matter what your age is," he said. "I think that experience is only necessary for those that are unqualified, and I think that for him, for a guy like that, a guy that has done such a great job in his rookie year so far, just continue to push. Continue to take care of his body, continue to go through the ups and downs of what it's going to present. That's what I remember about my rookie year, I specifically remember that game. I remember a couple other ones too, but I had a lot of family at that game too, so that was a cool experience."
2. Wilson's first big game was the result of a ruptured spleen.
Wilson was asked Thursday if anything stood out about the first time he played a football game in pads, and it turns out he had a great story to tell. As it turns out, Wilson's first taste of organized football came in sixth or seventh grade when he played for a team called the Tuckahoe Tomahawks in Richmond, Virginia. Not long after joining the team, Wilson was forced into action despite not knowing the offense.
"I went there, I think the game was on Saturday, I went to practice on Friday, this is like in the middle of the season they were fighting for playoffs, and their practice was on Friday," Wilson said. "So I go to practice late at night or whatever, I had huge hands and this little football, so I could just chuck the ball like 70-something yards. So they're all looking around like what's going on. So anyways, so I go to the game on Saturday, and I'm not starting I don't know any of the plays or anything like that. So I go to the game on Saturday, we're playing Highland Springs—I'll never forget this—we're playing Highland Springs, first play of the game, they blitz off the edge and they hit the quarterback, just blow him up, and ruptures his spleen. So it's kind of a sad situation, he ruptures his spleen and has to go to the hospital first play of the game. So I had to go in, I had no idea what the plays are. I knew football really well because I played all the time, so I got in the dirt, and I drew up all pass plays. I drew up the pass plays in the dirt and we'd just go off it. And Highland Springs was number one in the city at the time, and we were like third, and we ended up blowing them out like 60-7 or something like that. So that was kind of my first football game, and then I ended up playing my seventh grade year at Collegiate where I went to school, and that was kind of my first game, first football experience."
3. Wilson's first choice is rarely a run.
While Wilson had a big game running the ball in Green Bay, rushing for 78 yards on 10 carries, he contends that he will always make it his first priority to get the ball to Marshawn Lynch when it comes to running the read-option.
"I hope (defenders) all cover me, so that way Marshawn can take it," he said. "I think he's going to get more yards every time he gets the football than me. So it's a great thing to have. Marshawn and I talk about it all the time, just the ability to make plays and the ability to just be in the backfield with each other is a lot of fun, and obviously, like I said, I'm trying to give him the football. If it's there, then I'll take it. But it does it matter if I take it early in the game, late in the game, no I don't think that way. I just try to go by the read honestly, and just let the game play itself out."
Wilson did find more room to run in the second half, however, the result of the Packers keying on Lynch, and if the open running lanes are there, Wilson won't hesitate to take them. Big runs by Wilson can not only help the offense because of the yards they gain, but also because they force teams to respect the threat of him running, which can open things up for Lynch.
"The read kind of told me to run it mostly in terms of those plays," he said. "Fortunately enough we were able to get some big runs on that and then that opened up some other things as well. So it makes it challenging on a defense obviously when you have the best running back in the National Football League running one way, and then I have the opportunity to run it in the opposite way, it's tough on a defense. So they have to give attention to Marshawn, that's what makes him so good. So it makes it fun and easy on me in terms of just trying to find ways to get a positive run. If I can get a four yard run, that's a good thing. A first down, hopefully a touchdown, but the goal is just to try to make it difficult on the defense."
4. Wilson isn't worried about Jimmy Graham.
After a productive first game, catching six passes for 51 yards and a touchdown, tight end Jimmy Graham, who was acquired in a blockbuster offseason trade with New Orleans, was limited to just one catch against the Packers. That has led to speculation that Graham might be frustrated with his role, but just as offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said a day earlier, Wilson said the only thing bothering his tight end is a lack of victories, not targets.
"He's just a guy that wants to win, just like all of us," Wilson said. "That's the great thing about it, he's an ultimate competitor. He's been unbelievable in practice, the way we all practice it's a lot of fun, and so he's a great teammate, couldn't be any better, great friend too as well, so we're excited about what's going to happen."
5. Wilson lost a friend this week.
During his weekly Tuesday visits to Seattle Children's Hospital, a young girl named Ailynn Arredondo asked Wilson become her godfather. He agreed, but unfortunately Arredondo passed away the following day.
"Such a sweet girl first of all," Wilson said of Arredondo. "I'm fortunate enough to go to the Children's Hospital every Tuesday and I get to see a lot of kids, and unfortunately sometimes you see a kid and they pass away. Sometimes you get to see them on their last few days, sometimes you may not see them for another couple months and then they pass, but just a special girl. I pray that everybody keeps their family in their prayers and all that, and just anything that you can do to help people. That's the best thing we can do as people, especially with kids, like the Children's Hospital and all that."