ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — With his return to Seattle in his first regular-season game with the Denver Broncos just days away, quarterback Russell Wilson confirmed Thursday the Seahawks had actually tried to trade him before — in 2018 — and said he doesn’t believe his skills have diminished as he heads into his 11th season.
The Broncos’ blockbuster trade to acquire Wilson in March — for five draft picks, including two first-rounders and two second-rounders, as well as three players — was one of the biggest league-altering moves of the offseason.
But Wilson confirmed Thursday, just before he took the practice field, that it wasn’t the first time the Seahawks had tried to trade him in his time with the team that included nine Pro Bowl selections, two Super Bowl starts and one Super Bowl win. In an ESPN story published this week on the Wilson-Seahawks football divorce, Seattle’s attempt to trade Wilson before the 2018 draft was detailed.
“Definitely they tried to, a couple of times, tried to see what was out there,” Wilson said. “It’s part of the business, being a professional and everything else … I believe in my talents, of who I am, I feel I’m one of the best in the world.”
According to a source, Wilson heard while attending Super Bowl LV in February of 2021 that Seattle previously had other conversations about trading him in addition to their 2018 call to the Cleveland Browns. A Seahawks source has said that the 2018 call to the Browns was the only time they actively tried to trade Wilson other than when they did so to Denver in March.
Wilson, 33, also challenged criticisms, some anonymous, that his skills have diminished. He did not play a snap in the Broncos’ three preseason games so Monday night in Lumen Field will be the first time anyone has seen Wilson operate Denver’s offense in a game.
“I don’t worry about all that stuff, people can have opinions and thoughts and ideas, everyone has their own right to think what they want to think,” Wilson said. “I know how the whole thing went, how it transpired, just the whole situation.
“I think every year you have to prove that [you’re one of the best] … You want your career to be a reflection of being one of the best in the world, so I think the first 10 years has been a positive reflection, but there’s more to do, a lot more to do.”
Wilson was asked what kind of reception he thought he would get from Seahawks’ fans in the stadium and said that he doesn’t play this game with a chip on his shoulder.
“Seattle forever means the world to me,” Wilson said. “I loved it there, like I said, I played 10 years there, it was an amazing experience, I loved every second of it.”
He told Seattle-area media Thursday that he expects a “rowdy” crowd at Lumen Field on Monday night.
“I know they’ll be rowdy. I know they’ll be excited. It’s Monday Night Football so it’ll be a special environment. Listen, I think that I gave my heart and soul every day. I know nothing less. Hopefully it’ll be positive, but at the same time, at the end of the day, I know we’ve got a game to play and everything else,” he said.
He also told reporters in Seattle that he and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll talked “several different times” between the end of last season and when he was traded.
“I was hoping that it would all work out and we’d be able to figure out all the details out. We weren’t able to … so it’s one of those things. You’ve got to be able to move on with joy and just say I still get to play this game and now I get to be with the Denver Broncos, another great organization,” he said.
“To say that I get to play for the Seattle Seahawks for 10 years and hopefully the Denver Broncos for the rest of my career hopefully, we’ll see. That’s an amazing thing to say. So I’m just grateful. I’m grateful for the whole experience of it all.”
ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this report.