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HomeSportsRussell Wilson’s ‘try hard’ persona just what the Broncos need

Russell Wilson’s ‘try hard’ persona just what the Broncos need


Russ says, ‘Let’s ride!’

Russ says, ‘Let’s ride!’
Photo: Getty Images

Do you know how we can tell Russell Wilson has that “it” factor? Because everything he does this offseason seems to spark a chain reaction on the wavelength of a butterfly causing a hurricane. It might be that Pennywise the Clown “It” factor to some, but “it’s” something, nonetheless.

After 10 seasons in Seattle, things had grown stale. The offense, his vibe with Pete Carroll, the spongy offensive line — Russ had worn thin. Thus, after a year of wrestling with the idea of moving on, the Seahawks traded their star QB to the Denver Broncos. If it’s anything like the last time he took his show on the road from NC State to Wisconsin, the Broncos should be elated by the final product. During his first offseason in Denver, he’s been a lightning rod for his general lack of a cool factor.

He’s been called out for not being as suave as Future and no one will ever forget him throwing an interception on the 1-yard-line in the Super Bowl. Wilson’s sartorial choices had NFL Twitter irrationally fired up when he showed up to training camp rocking his own jersey. What seemed innocuous brewed into a full-storm debate on Al Gore’s internet over whether it’s appropriate to wear your own Mitchell & Ness throwback to training camp. The conclusion? It’s fine, half the internet just hates Russ for the same reason they pile on overachievers perceived to be “trying too hard.” The debate over jersey decorum overshadowed the monster truck he rode into camp in. Is he compensating for being one of the NFL’s shortest QBs? I don’t know, but, gas is like $8.00. A full tank of diesel probably costs more than the truck itself.

Everything Russ touches this offseason goes viral. Since getting traded to Denver, Russ has incorporated “Let’s ride” into videos he appears in on social media. He’s become as obsessed with it as Vin Diesel is with the Fast and Furious cast being a real family. On a side note, it’s shocking that Vin Diesel got beat to the trademark on “Let’s Ride” by Russ.

Russ-isms have caught on among Bronco Country, but it’s also been caricatured outside Denver as well. He’s been predictably mocked for the behind-the-scenes footage of him using multiple takes to stick the “Let’s Ride” down, which isn’t that weird, but hey that’s life as Russell Wilson. Keenan Allen, All-Pro receiver for one of Russ’ new divisional rivals, was caught mimicking Russ’ “let’s ride.” By my unofficial count, at least a dozen players between the NFL and college have done their own “Let’s Ride” cover. Russ might be able to swing this into a cameo for Fast 10.

Patient Zero, Russell Wilson is self-aware enough to appreciate the memes he’s created. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Drew Lock’s bad play was too baked in to be mocked without it becoming hackneyed jokes. And Teddy Bridgewater was too bland to warrant mockery. Daniels and Rattler are both transfers like Russ, so they should be following his blueprint to bounce back from college football castaways to franchise quarterbacks. They shouldn’t even stop there.

Last week, Wilson took another stab at lifestyle motivational speaking when he disclosed his penchant for tripling the work he’s tasked with in order to attain success.

Mr. Triple Everything sounds like a more apropos nickname for Russell Westbrook instead of Wilson, However, it served the purpose of supplementing the perception of Russ as fake and obsessed with his public image. When Russ gets amped up, he starts speaking like those Progressive Insurance dweebs who are becoming their dads. It’s not even a persona, at this point, people have to acknowledge that this is just who he is. Nobody ever says that about Deshaun Watson. Russ has been accused of adopting a false persona, but who would choose this corniness?

Russ has tripled the expectations that were placed on him when he was drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He’s outlasted the top two picks in the first round of his draft and played in two Super Bowls, winning one. Nothing corny about that. If you’re not tripling everything, you’re not trying.

What’s more telling is whether his touch can translate to the gridiron this season after he’s regressed over the past two years in Seattle. The last time the Broncos added an All-Pro quarterback to their roster, Peyton Manning led the Broncos to a Super Bowl win. This is what relevancy feels like. Denver has brought in on the corniness and everything that accompanies it. You can’t fake that.

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