Russell Wilson will face off against an old NFC West rival when the Denver Broncos host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. But defenders like Fred Warner and Nick Bosa aren’t the only familiar faces coming after the quarterback these days.
In recent weeks, Wilson has been taking hits off the field from some of his former Seattle Seahawks teammates. Here’s a look at what’s been going on:
Who is criticizing Wilson?
After the Broncos’ 17-16 Week 1 loss to the Seahawks, Richard Sherman, Wilson’s former teammate, criticized the quarterback on his podcast, “The Richard Sherman Podcast.”
Sherman compared Wilson’s leadership with Peyton Manning’s, who led the the Broncos to their Super Bowl 2016 win six years ago, and referenced Manning’s reaction during the “Manningcast,” an alternative “Monday Night Football” broadcast that he hosts with his brother Eli Manning.
“You could see Peyton Manning saying ‘timeout, timeout,’” Sherman said during the podcast. “You know the difference between Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning? Russell does not have the power to call that timeout without the sideline. Peyton Manning can call that timeout without the sideline. He’s the coach on the field. He has that respect.”
Sherman remained critical last weekend, which was the second week of the NFL season. He shared a tweet about Wilson starting 4 of 14 for 48 yards against the Houston Texans and added a chef emoji to it. The tweet appeared to mock the “Let Russ Cook” phrase Wilson trademarked in 2020, according to Sports Illustrated.
“The phrase means to let Russ have more control of the Seahawks offense and passing game, and has since caught on within the fanbase,” CBS Sports reported.
Doug Baldwin, who was one of Wilson’s receivers for seven seasons, seemed to join Sherman in his Twitter trolling when he tweeted this gif, showing his amusement of the Seahawks’ win and Wilson’s loss.
Baldwin previously spoke to ESPN about the rift between Wilson and the Seahawks.
“From my vantage point, the divorce was inevitable and was many years in the making,” he said. “The reasons are multiple, but ultimately, I think it comes down to a difference of pursuits.”
Both Baldwin and Sherman were Wilson’s teammates when the Seahawks won the the Super Bowl in 2014.
Who supports Wilson?
Not all of Wilson’s former teammates are criticizing the quarterback. Two of his former receivers have voiced their support.
Prior to the Broncos-Seahawks game, wide receiver Tyler Lockett told ESPN that he believed Seahawk fans should cheer for Wilson. Instead, the quarterback was met with boos.
“But at the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to separate the man from the player and you’ve got to understand that everybody’s trying to do what’s best for them and all you can do is hope that they win and cheer for them to win,” he said. “I think that Seattle should cheer him on for everything that he’s done — help bring a Super Bowl to this community, all that different type of stuff. He’s an amazing guy.”
After the Seattle game, Wilson exchanged jerseys with his old receiver D.K. Metcalf. On the Seahawks jersey he gifted Wilson, Metcalf wrote that Wilson was the “greatest player I ever played with,” according to NFL.com.