ENGLEWOOD, Colo — Russell Wilson will not be shaken.
Heavy is the head who wears the crown? Wilson embraces the burden. For some reason, Wilson has become the world’s most villainized, well-meaning, kind-hearted athlete since Tim Tebow. And like Tebow, Wilson is not deterred.
With another gossipy, hurtful report swirling around him, Wilson started his weekly press conference Wednesday with a smile and demonstration of his Cause for Cleats, which benefits the Why Not You Foundation and V Foundation for Cancer Research.
Um, by the way, Russ. About the report on this birthday Tuesday that claimed Wilson has “lost” a few teammates in the Broncos’ locker room. The report circulated as many of his teammates gathered for a surprise birthday his wife Ciara put on. One person put it at about half the team – impressive attendance on the players' day off.
“It was a great time,’’ Wilson said. “To see the surprise – I don’t get surprised easily so .. a bunch of guys came. It was a blast, just to celebrate with the guys. Had a great day of work here, a bunch of guys came in [on Tuesday day off] and Ci said, 'I’m going to do a family dinner.' 'OK, that’s good.’
“So we got out to dinner and the next thing I know, a whole bunch of guys just go, ‘Surprise!’ Got me. That was cool. Chopped it up, had a great time.’’
As for the report, Wilson said: “I’ve got great relationships in that locker room. So whoever’s trying to tear it down, you can’t. It’s been an amazing journey coming here, moving here, being here, guys like Courtland Sutton, guys like Justin Simmons, guys like Dalton Risner …"
He went on to mention several more players, from D.J. Jones to Eric Saubert.
“This is a great team,’’ Wilson said, bypassing its 3-8 record for a moment. “I’m honored to be here. I’m honored to play with this team and these guys. There’s always noise. Especially when things aren’t going the way you want it to all the time. You don’t bat an eye. My biggest goal every day is to continue to lead at the highest level and to be consistent every day with my approach.”
Risner and Simmons both took turns at the podium and denounced the report of Wilson losing the locker room. So did others.
“We’ve got a great relationship,’’ said running back Latavius Murray, a 10-year NFL veteran. “This is my first time playing with him. Got a lot of respect for him. Probably even more respect with all he’s had to go through this year. For us in the locker room, it is noise. We’re here every day. We see the work that’s been put in. And it's regardless of the results.
“Some people are going to have something to say no matter what. But obviously us having the expectations that we had, there’s going to be more talk. But he hasn’t lost the locker room by any means. Still has a lot of respect and I still believe in him as a player and as our leader.”
Murray was among those who attended Wilson’s birthday party Tuesday.
“Yeah I went there and it was a great time,’’ Murray said. “A great turnout. It was a good opportunity for us to break bread outside of the building. Guys come together to celebrate him, celebrate his birthday and come together as a team.”
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