BOTHELL — Not that he doesn’t have enough records already, but Russell Wilson accumulated an odd one Saturday afternoon — the most effort to get to a football game at Bothell High School.
In a departure from training camp custom, that’s where the Seahawks played their mock game. Wilson’s route to sold-out Pop Keeney Stadium, not far from Lake Washington’s north shore, went through Virginia.
Wilson attended funeral services in Norfolk Friday for his 94-year-old grandfather, Dr. Harrison B. Wilson, a former president of Norfolk State University. That caused Russell to miss practice Friday, only the second time in his Seahawks career he asked out. The first, in 2016, was also for a funeral.
No one at Seahawks headquarters would have objected if Wilson asked to stay the weekend on the East Coast. But the guess is that nobody bothered to ask, just to get a “no.”
“I don’t like missing practice very often,” Wilson said after the mock game. “It was super important (to get back). But life and family are more important. To go back home and see my family and celebrate his life with them . . . it was a quick 24 hours, but it was worth it.”
Harrison Wilson was president of NSU from 1975 to 1997, helping it grow into one of the nation’s largest historically black colleges. His legacy drew praise from Virginia’s political leaders.
“For more than two decades, his leadership brought tremendous achievement to Norfolk State University and charted a new course for the institution, both in academics and in athletics,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. Added Sen. Mark Warner: “He helped transform Nortfolk State into the pivotal institution it is today.”
Grandson was proud of grandpa.
“Born in 1925, he’s seen a lot and done a lot,” Russell said, mentioning that Harrison mostly raised alone Russell’s father and two uncles until he married Lucy 52 years ago. From previous marriages, they had six children between them.
“To be the leader he was, was inspirational,” Russell said. “That’s what I want to do with my life. The reality is, we’re all going to be gone someday — what can we leave?
“I think he was able to impact the world.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wilson handled the situation “about as well as you can. He went back and forth across the country in a day, got back and performed great today. I asked him if this was hard on him. He says, ‘No, I was made for this.’
“He handles his mentality so well, he just overrides whatever’s going on around him to get there.”
Wilson led the Blue team, nominally the No. 1 unit on a day of liberal substitutions and players resting small hurts, on six drives that led to two touchdowns and two field goals. He completed 11 of 17 passes. The stats are hard to assess because, although the sides were padded up, no takedown tackles were allowed, and referees whistled a stop to running plays after initial contact.
But as always, there was no mistaking Wilson was himself.
Mundane as it was, the mock game also marked another great distance besides Wilson’s travels — the gap between Wilson and the tandem competing to be his backup, Geno Smith and Paxton Lynch.
No surprise there, although their professional resumes were better than the most recent occupants of the position.
Smith, 28 with 40 NFL games, was five of 10 with two TD passes in his four drives. Lynch, 25 with five NFL games, in three drives drove the Greens to a touchdown and field goal was seven of 11 passing.
There were no interceptions, but Smith threw one that should have been. Instead, it turned into the play of the afternoon.
Smith’s pass in the left flat to rookie free agent WR Jazz Ferguson was anticipated by second-year CB Tre Flowers. But instead of grabbing it for a likely pick-six, the ball bounced off his hands. Ferguson took it 42 yards for a touchdown in what became a 23-20 win for the Greens, who once trailed 20-3, for whatever it’s worth.
Ferguson led the receivers with four catches and 69 yards. Tyler Lockett played little and rookie sensation DK Metcalf not at all, held out after a minor oblique-muscle strain from Friday’s practice.
For the workout’s final possession, Carroll cooked up a mythical onside-kick recovery that put Smith on the field again. He moved the Greens down the short field and again found Ferguson for the 11-yard game winner against backups.
“Both (QBs) hit some stuff,” Carroll said. “I thought Geno did really nicely down the stretch.”
Neither has been impressive so far in camp against light defenses. The test comes at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Clink in the exhibition opener against the Denver Broncos. After a likely opening-drive cameo for Wilson, Smith and Lynch will have at it to show that they are much more than tied for the second-best QBs Bothell High School has seen.
I just want the two of them to be better than Johnny Hekker (Class of 2008). They might not be.
Was Bothell’s finest a QB as well as punter?
Need I remind you… https://bit.ly/2ZvTwN5
“We’re all going to be gone someday– what can we leave?”….Wise young man.