Super Bowl XLIX  

 

Russell Wilson's steadfast style led Seattle back to Super Bowl

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PHOENIX -- The Seattle Seahawks arrived here Sunday afternoon for Super Bowl week and were immediately shuttled to a sprawling resort far enough outside the city that bluffs, hills and desert -- not a downtown skyline -- shape the horizon.

There is plenty of room for players, coaches and staff to each have their own dwelling. And everyone does -- except for star quarterback Russell Wilson and backup tailback Robert Turbin.

"Russell is a big believer in keeping things the same," Turbin said.

So Turbin, Wilson's football roommate since Wilson was selected in the third round and Turbin in the fourth of the 2012 NFL Draft, obliged his close friend.

They might have to hear each other snore. And Turbin might have to spend hours with Wilson dissecting film -- as the quarterback does habitually -- when he'd rather be watching "Celebrity Apprentice." But it's worked so far, right?

After all, Seattle won the NFC West and reached the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season, with Wilson serving as the guiding hand (and, sometimes, legs) that helped push the Seahawks to this point. So what's another week sharing a suite with his road dog?

It's not superstition.

"A lot of things he talks about, he says the same things I do," Turbin said. "We have a real unique relationship."

It's actually a brotherhood -- not just of peers, but of spiritual young men raised in the church. Their faith was the thread that started their friendship, and it's what has continued to strengthen it over the years.

"I was in church all the time, and he was similar," said Turbin, who shared some insight on their bond that cast the workaholic, glass-half-full Wilson in a new light.

Though rarely do we -- or his teammates or coaches -- see Wilson upset, angry or bothered, Turbin did say that Wilson's offseason divorce got to the quarterback.

"That's hard for anybody to struggle with, and it affected him," Turbin said. "But he used that; he uses trials to motivate him even more."

We've seen that knack for motivation play out on the field since Wilson won the starting job in Seattle as a rookie who'd slipped to the third round of the draft because of his stature (5-foot-11). He's helped Seattle become a powerhouse with his physical gifts, yes -- but according to teammates, his leadership and attitude have been equally important.

Off the field, Wilson does get down at times -- like most of us. But unlike most of us, he doesn't burden himself with things he can't control.

"His attitude, he is totally positive," said Turbin, adding that Wilson doesn't hold on to grudges, either.

Amid a turbulent 3-3 start to Seattle's season, there were reports that some of Wilson's teammates didn't think too kindly of him; one report asserted that some of the team's African-American players didn't think Wilson was "black enough."

Wilson and several of the team's leaders scoffed at the notion. Of course, we always hear that no one is universally beloved by all of his teammates. But even with all of the varying backgrounds represented in the Seahawks' locker room, Wilson's personality -- along with his ability to do his job on the football field -- has had a settling effect. And that has been a key factor behind the team's return to the Super Bowl one year after capturing the Lombardi Trophy, Turbin said.

"At the end of the day, he's realized that being himself is most important," Turbin said. "Regardless of all of the personalities that we have on our team, they trust him on the field. He's done a great job of adjusting to all the personalities on the team."

For example: "He can get to Marshawn (Lynch) when Marshawn might not want to listen to everyone at that time."

Said coach Pete Carroll of Wilson: "He has a great sense of what's going on around him. He is having fun the whole time. He enjoys the heck out of everything. I don't know how you can have a better foundation.

"We are similar. We both have positive outlooks, so he's always pumping me up and I pump him up."

Offensive tackle Russell Okung added: "He understands who he is, and that's what's so great about him." Plus, there's the fact that "he takes care of his offensive line."

How?

"He got us some first-class plane tickets."

Wilson is careful not to talk about himself above the team. He won't engage in conversations comparing himself to the game's elite, such as the quarterback he'll oppose in Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady.

"I just try to be the best quarterback I can be to help my team win," Wilson has said -- more than once.

It sounds dry, but it also sounds very Russell Wilson. Teammates and coaches resoundingly say that Wilson is pretty much what we see. He's genuine, through and through, and he doesn't like to venture far outside of his lane for anything -- even the Super Bowl.

His relationship with his roommate -- along with the fact that he even has a roommate -- is proof of that.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.

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