Russell Wilson starts off the 2014 season with his same, consistent philosophy
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson still talks about taking it all one step at a time.
Seattle Times columnist
Russell Wilson, Version III, looked slightly different Monday, hairdo-wise. But Seahawks fans will no doubt be pleased to hear that his sound bytes were vintage in their emphasis on focus, preparation and the always-popular need to hone his fundamentals.
Yeah, all the seemingly mundane stuff that has merely made Wilson the winningest quarterback in NFL history in his first two years.
If you were expecting Wilson to be newly emboldened by attaining one of the loftiest titles in all of sports — Super Bowl-winning quarterback — well, you haven’t been paying attention to what makes this guy tick. He’s not going to suddenly start calling out Colin Kaepernick, or guarantee a Super Bowl repeat.
No, it’s still all about “going 1-0 every day, coming out here and having a championship mindset, and playing the right way,’’ as Wilson said after the OTA workout Monday. And he called out people, all right — just about every Seahawks teammate, for praise on their performance in drills.
Ah, music to Pete Carroll’s ears. It was potentially a hectic and disconcerting offseason for Wilson, pulled in every direction by those wanting a piece of his growing celebrity. That’s on top of his announcement in April that he had filed for divorce from his wife, Ashton.
But Wilson said he’s right where he needs to be as training camp rapidly approaches.
“I stayed pretty organized,’’ he said. “I’ve stayed focused on what I needed to stay focused on, and getting ready for football. It’s been an exceptional offseason for me so far in terms of getting prepared for that.”
Wilson says his knowledge of the game has grown “exponentially,” which tends to happen when you live in the film room.
His body has healed from the aches and pains of a grueling season, and his arm feels “really strong,” exemplified by the long bomb he threw Monday to wide receiver Paul Richardson, the recent second-round draft choice.
“Our receivers right now are as fast as it gets,’’ Wilson enthused.
Mostly, though, Wilson says he’s fired up by the challenge of matching last year’s success, an undertaking that has proved elusive for many Super Bowl champions.
“Being out here, the thing I noticed more than anything else is just the energy level, after winning,’’ he said. “Sometimes, it can go the other way. Sometimes, you can fall off and not stay focused, whatever. I think, if anything, once we’ve kind of been there, once we’ve tasted the Super Bowl and accomplished that, we want it that much more again.”
But like “Fight Club,” in Wilson’s world the first rule of winning another championship is not mentioning it.
Or at least not dwelling on it.
“We don’t talk about Super Bowls, we don’t talk about winning again or anything like that,’’ Wilson said. “We stay consistent with our words.”
Wilson’s consistency has been his calling card, and he’s not looking for any radical transformation. He said his point of emphasis in OTAs is “being balanced all the time,’’ a reference to his body positioning when passing, not his outlook on life, though it probably applies there, too.
“That’s something I’ll always focus on every year — my footwork and being on time with the football,’’ he said. “I’m not overdoing it. Sometimes you need to simplify things. That’s what it is for me more than anything.”
Asked if he wants to add or subtract from his playing weight, Wilson said, “I’ve been eating really healthy lately. I guess I’m trying to lean up, but not really lose weight. I think the biggest thing is, whatever worked last year, it worked for us; I don’t need to change too much.”
Which brings us back to Wilson’s hair, still in the early stages of growing back from the buzz cut he received for the Seahawks’ White House visit two weeks ago.
Just before that, Wilson had gotten himself a Mohawk, which is just about as wild and crazy as he’ll ever get — “something completely different than I usually do,’’ he said, laughing.
But you’ll probably not be surprised to learn he did the Mohawk for a fundraiser for diabetes, the disease that struck his late father.
“Then I was going to the White House on Tuesday (two days after the charity event),’’ he said. “I couldn’t see President Obama and the First Lady like that, so I cut it all off. It’s growing back, slowly.’’
It was pointed out to Wilson that he could have made a memorable impression by showing up for the presidential visit with a Mohawk.
“I didn’t want to be memorable in that way,’’ he replied.
Just the same old way as before — winning football games.
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @StoneLarry
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Larry Stone gives his take on the local and national sports scene.