Russell Wilson met with the media following Seattle's Tuesday practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Here's three things we learned from the Seahawks quarterback:
1. He's Throwing The First Pitch On Friday
Wilson, a former professional baseball player before he was drafted by the Seahawks in 2012, will toss out the ceremonial first pitch for the Seattle Mariners this Friday at Safeco Field.
The Mariners have partnered with Wilson's Why Not You Foundation, which advocates for pediatric cancer through the Strong Against Cancer initiative, works with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and more to empower change. At Why Not You Night, $12 from every ticket sold through this special online offer will go back to Wilson's foundation, and fans will receive a Why Not You Mariners t-shirt to top it off.
"We ultimately want to get the whole city of Seattle to come out, sell out and cheer on the Mariners, but also to give back to kids," Wilson said. "Each time someone buys the tickets, I think it’s from Mariners.com/WhyNotYou, that 12 dollars of that ticket price goes to Why Not You foundation."
As for what type of pitch Wilson's plans to throw, that will depend on which Mariners player is behind the plate.
"I’m thinking, I’ve thrown a fastball twice," Wilson said. "I think I may give Felix [Hernandez] a slider if he’s catching it. Depends who’s catching.”
2. Adjusting To Life Without Marshawn Lynch
The Seahawks will wrap up preseason play in Marshawn Lynch's hometown this week, with an exhibition against the Oakland Raiders set for 7 p.m. PT on Thursday at Oakland Coliseum. This year marks the first time Seattle will enter the regular season without the Beast Mode running back since 2011, and Wilson was asked just how different training camp has been in Lynch's absence.
“Well, Marshawn is a great football player," Wilson said. "The way he plays the game is as good as it can be. I think the maturation of our team, we know how to play and we know how to win. Ultimately, we believe in one another and we have our sights on the right thing. The preparation that we put into every day, it doesn’t get any better. So we’re excited about moving forward, we’re excited about that, but at the same time we always miss a guy like that."
Head coach Pete Carroll affirmed Thomas Rawls' availability for Week 1, and Rawls, who rushed for 830 yards and averaged 5.6 yards per carry in place of Lynch last season, is likely to be joined in the Seahawks' backfield in some fashion by veteran Christine Michael, who has enjoyed a strong preseason. Beyond Rawls and Michael, rookies C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins, and Troymaine Pope make up the running backs battling for roster spots as the Seahawks ready for life without Lynch.
"He’s a great football player," Wilson said. "We have tons of respect for Marshawn, and we’re looking forward to the running backs that are going to step up into his role and make a lot of great plays.”
3. His Thoughts On Colin Kaepernick
Like Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was asked to share Monday, quarterback Russell Wilson was questioned about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem at games as a way to protest what Kaepernick feels is racial injustice in America.
"I think, first of all, there’s no perfect answer," Wilson said. "I understand and respect the cause because there’s so much going on in America right now. There’s so much hurt, there’s so much pain. Ultimately, I understand what he’s doing. For me, I love the flag, I love the national anthem because it’s an emotional time for me because I’m so grateful I get to play on the football field. Every time I get to put my hand on my heart it’s truly an honor to the military for me. I think about my family members who have served and friends. I train down in San Diego all the time, so I’m around the Navy and I see those guys. Just to see those guys around and all they do for our country and the people in Afghanistan and all these people fighting - 9/11 for example, coming up here, that’s going to be our first game, and I think about all the pain from that. That’s why I stand and put my hand on the heart.
"I do think there’s always issues in our country," he added. "And I think ultimately it comes back to love. Like I said to you guys before, it comes back to loving one another, appreciating one another, understanding that we’re not perfect but we need to be equal. That’s from the black community. That’s from the white community. That’s from the police officers to everybody, all of our military to everybody we get to recognize and see. Have a great appreciation for what this country is based on and what it should be based on. It should be based on equality. It should be based on people having freedom of speech—people can have that decision. I understand what he’s doing, but at the same time for me I also think about where we need to go. Where our thoughts need to be, it needs to be about love, it needs to be about caring for one another. That’s for every community every situation, every socio-economic status. If we focus on that maybe something can change and I think that’s important."
Check out the best photos from Wednesday's practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center before the Seahawks play the Oakland Raiders in the final preseason game of 2016.