Russell Wilson didn’t take long to get comfortable in the NFL, quickly becoming a Pro Bowl quarterback and Super Bowl champion. However, when he was playing under center at North Carolina State and Wisconsin, no one would have imagined he would blossom into the star he is today.
In fact, his former coach at N.C. State, Tom O’Brien, told the signal-caller he would not play in the NFL.
Wilson discussed the matter while giving the commencement speech at Wisconsin this weekend. Wilson, who left North Carolina State after O’Brien attempted to force him into choosing baseball or football, said his former coach lacked the belief in him and even said he was too small.
“The summer before my senior year of college, I’m playing minor-league baseball. I called my football coach at NC State and said, ‘Hey coach, I’d like to come back for my senior year.’ He told me I wasn’t coming back. He said, ‘Listen son, you’re never going to play in the National Football League. You’re too small. There’s no chance. You’ve got no shot. Give it up.’ Of course, I’m on this side of the phone saying, ‘So you’re telling me I’m not coming back to NC State? I won’t see the field?’ He said, ‘No son, you won’t see the field.’ Now this was everything I had worked for. And now it was completely gone,” Wilson said.
“If I wanted to follow my dream I had to leave NC State. I had no idea if I would get a second chance somewhere else.”
Well, perhaps that ended up being the motivation Wilson needed to become the star he is today.
Wilson went to Wisconsin, focused on football and has dedicated himself to the sport. As a result, he is not only a starting quarterback in the NFL, he is one of the best young signal-callers in the game today.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports