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“I think Mr. Unlimited’s got to come out and show the world we have something to do.”
Russell Wilson is clearly ready to play some football. With the NFL regular season fast approaching and looming trade rumors in the rearview mirror, the veteran Seattle Seahawks quarterback is looking at the months ahead. He’s confident. He thinks his team can be the ones hoisting the Lombardi Trophy when all is said and done. Despite an MVP-like start to the season from Wilson and a 12-4 finish for the Seahawks, they came up short in their Wild Card round matchup with Rams. But Wilson thinks the team can play into February this season.
“I don’t think there is a ceiling. I think that the place that we want to go is we want to be at the end celebrating,” says Wilson. “That’s what we believe we can do. And that’s what we’re working for.”
Ahead of the upcoming season, Wilson is giving the Seahawks faithful an even easier way to get their hands on exclusive collectibles through a new deal with Fanatics. The partnership means that Fanatics will offer the widest assortment of Wilson memorabilia such as signed helmets, jerseys, footballs, photos, game-used equipment, and more. It can all be shopped via the Fanatics site, Seahawks pro shop, and NFL’s official web store. Wilson says the pairing is an authentic one. He’s previously worked with Fanatics executive chairman Michael Rubin to help raise money for the All In Challenge. A double date with him and his wife Ciara was auctioned off for $240,000 last year to help aid the fight against food insecurity.
“I’ve been fortunate to get pretty close to Michael Rubin. We have shared a lot of time together, and a lot of cool conversations about life, the thought process of business , and also the idea around fan experience daily. I think that nobody does it better in the world than Michael Rubin and Fanatics, they’ve done an amazing job with it,” Wilson tells Complex. “It was a no-brainer for me to partner up with Fanatics on this journey as they continue to evolve and continue to kind of be a wrecking ball, in a positive way, in the growth of fan experience and fan engagement.”
We recently got a chance to chat with Wilson about the new partnership, his tough competition in the NFC West this season, the potential of young Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, getting the 12th Man back in Seattle, and more. Check out our full interview with Wilson below.
You have this new partnership with Fanatics. What excites you about this new opportunity?
Well, my relationship with Fanatics is super authentic. It’s been amazing along the journey because I’ve been fortunate to get pretty close to Michael Rubin. We have shared a lot of time together, and a lot of cool conversations about life, the thought process of business , and also the idea around fan experience daily. I think that nobody does it better in the world than Michael Rubin and Fanatics, they’ve done an amazing job with it. It was a no-brainer for me to partner up with Fanatics on this journey as they continue to evolve and continue to kind of be a wrecking ball, in a positive way, in the growth of fan experience and fan engagement. So anyway, I’m super proud of partnering up with Fanatics.
I’m on this new exclusive deal with it, my new memorabilia, my autographs, my collectibles, my helmets, my jerseys, that kind of stuff. It’s going to be super fun. I’m excited to be a part of this journey. The relationship is super authentic. So I’m excited about it, man. It’s super cool. I’m fired up about it and we’ve done some really cool things before too as well. Obviously like the All In Challenge with me and Ciara doing a double date, that was cool to raise funds for everything that was going on. We got some more cool things coming too. So I’m pumped up about it.
I’ve always wondered this. Is it ever tough to part ways with some of these items? Obviously it’s cool that you get to give fans these types of things, but is there anything you wish you still had?
I have all the good things. I got my Super Bowl ring. I got my first touchdown pass. I got a couple of record breaking ones. That’s all I really need, man. The next thing I need is another Super Bowl ring or two, a few more of those. That’s the only thing I really need to hold on to. God gifted me the opportunity to inspire and influence. So to be able to have amazing fans all around the world and to be able to make a difference is pretty cool.
Looking at the upcoming season, last year you were playing some of the best football of your career. You were in the MVP discussion for a good part of the year there. Going into your 10th year is there anything that you still want to prove to yourself going out there every Sunday?
Well, I think the next thing is I really want to go win the Super Bowl. Obviously that’s the thing that we, as a team, really want to be able to do. I want to play the best football in my life. I’ve obviously played a lot of great football over the past nine years, all the games we’ve gone on to win, all the touchdowns, and everything else. I’m excited. There’s a whole nother level to go to. I’ve been training like crazy with my performance team, the team’s performance team, and everything else, every day, ready to roll. I got my new trainer Tim Grover, who was Michael and Kobe’s guy. So I’m all in, no pun intended, I’m all in. So I’m excited about where we’re going, what we’re doing, and the next 10 years. They better watch out. I’m ready.
When you look at the Seahawks team, guys like you, Bobby Wagner on defense, and obviously Coach Carroll, you guys are sort of that nucleus over there. You’ve been able to see a few chapters come and go over these 10 seasons. When you look at this year’s squad, what do you think the ceiling is for you guys? What is the goal for you guys this season?
I don’t think there is a ceiling. I think that the place that we want to go is we want to be at the end celebrating. That’s what we believe we can do. And that’s what we’re working for.
One of the young guys I love to watch on your team right now is DK Metcalf. Last year he had a bit of a breakout year. You guys torched my Eagles team, which I’m still not really fully over yet. Have you two been working on anything? What do you see as the next step for him? Because that could be a lot of trouble for the secondaries in the league if he takes that next leap.
Yeah, we’ve been spending time together. He actually was just here. We just had a little mini camp with all the guys here, training down here in Cali with me. He looks amazing. I think the biggest thing is just to continue to rise, man. He’s got the most talent in the world. He’s got the attitude, he’s got the focus, and I think that he’s got all the ability to be able to do what he wants to do. I think he’s going to be one of the best to ever play this game if he just keeps going, keeps growing. There’s nothing that he can’t do. He’s a bad man.
Then for you, you have your Mr. Unlimited alter ego. We know about the Let Russ Cook campaign last season. What are we getting from Russell Wilson on Sundays in 2021?
I think that you got to be unapologetic. You know what I mean? Go for it all. I think Mr. Unlimited’s got to come out and show the world we have something to do. You have to wait and see.
The NFC West might be the best division in football right now. What are your thoughts on the division and where do you think the Seahawks fall into that mix of things this season?
Ever since I’ve gotten into the NFL the NFC West has been the best division of football, since 2012. So nothing is different. It’s just, you gotta go up, get ready to roll, play your best football, that’s it. The thing about football is it’s not about talking, it’s about getting out there and making the plays. So that’s what we’re excited about.
One of the biggest shake-ups in the division is the Rams adding Matthew Stafford. Having that new veteran presence, a veteran quarterback of his caliber in your division, what are your thoughts on that match up and what he brings to the table against you guys this season?
I think Matthew’s a great player. He’s always been terrific. I think he’s been one of the best quarterbacks in the league in terms of statistics and stuff like that for the most part, and he’s a really, really, really good player, a really great guy too. So I think the thing with Matt is that it has been really cool to watch is just how his family has overcome all that they’ve gone through. So, my level of respect and understanding of how far they’ve gone and overcome things is really amazing, him and his wife. So, wishing nothing but the best for him and his family.
It was a weird year last year, but the 12th Man is back for you guys. Obviously fans matter for any team, but it’s especially important in Seattle I feel. Are you excited to have that element back in play this season for the home games in Seattle?
Yeah man. To have our fans back, they’re the best fans in the world and we’ve missed them. Just the energy of that. Football is meant to be played in front of thousands and thousands, 80,000 people, man. So we’re excited to turn the volume up.
I mentioned DK earlier, but obviously the NFL has a ton of young stars and young talent coming up right now. There’s so many young quarterbacks, especially, coming up in that next generation. Is there anyone that you see yourself most in, or is there anyone that you feel has a really bright future when you look at that new crop of quarterbacks coming in?
I don’t know, man. I always want to watch the guys. It’s kind of hard to tell because I think the guys are always highly touted and this and that, but they got to show up week in and week out and I think that’s the hardest thing about being a quarterback, the journey from year one to year two, to year three to year five to year 10. It’s not easy. I think it’s the hardest position in the world. We’ll have to wait and see. So we’ll have to wait and see and see who can do it.
This isn’t football related, but the Versuz battles have been so huge over the past year. Your wife, Ciara, is a super talented musician. She has plenty of hits under her belt. If you had to see a Ciara Versuz matchup, who do you want to see her go up against?
Oh man, I don’t know. All I know is her dancing on stage or her singing her songs, I’m ready to listen.