Duane Brown is the sort of athlete upon which every pro sports franchise should be built. The least of his virtues is that he has the arms to carry one.
Savvy. Cool. Formidable. Like Denzel Washington in The Magnificent Seven.
So it was not surprising to learn Wednesday that after Russell Wilson rocked the world of Seattle sports in February with public complaints about his unhappiness with the Seahawks, including the pass protection, a called was placed.
“He reached out to me,” Brown said, responding to a question from reporters before practice Wednesday. Not the other way around. As prominent a figure as Wilson is, he didn’t get there by being stupid.
Wilson has been backpedaling from his critical remarks ever since. We don’t know for sure if Brown got the first call, but entering his 14th year as one of the NFL’s best left tackles, Brown deserved the first one — and flowers, candy, Mr. Unlimited T-shirts, whatever.
“As an offensive lineman, that’s something I take pride in, keeping my quarterback clean,” he said. “You hated to hear it, but at the same time his thoughts and feelings dated from before I was here (2017). But he feels how he feels. It’s a group effort to not have sacks, it’s not just on us. I think we are aware of that.
“We are just trying to not make that a thing this year.”
So much so, coach Pete Carroll poached a new offensive coordinator from the super-slick Rams, fetched a veteran tight end and right guard, and drafted a fast third receiver in order to give Wilson a better chance to stay away from his annoying home away from home — the armpit of Rams mauler Aaron Donald.
Whether the additions are enough eliminate that sack “thing” and get the Seahawks to the Super Bowl will begin to be known Sunday in Indianapolis against the Colts (10 a.m., FOX). What is known is that Brown and Wilson seem to have hugged it out.
“We are on good terms,” he said. “There’s never been any beef or bad blood between me and him. He stood on the table for me since before I got here, so it’s all good.
“He’s become one of my really good friends. We talk a lot about a variety of topics. It’s progressed every year since I’ve gotten here. He touches base with me in the off-season to see how I’m doing and vice versa. Solid dude overall.”
Wilson stood on the table for Brown again recently. As Brown pursued a contract extension by conducting a “hold-in”– attending all training camp meetings but not practicing — Wilson voiced his support for making Brown happy.
“We definitely need him,” Wilson said Aug. 19. “That would be huge for us. He’s been one of the best in the game, obviously. I’m sure it’ll get figured out, worked out. That’s what I’m hoping for and wanting.”
Indeed, Brown, in his final contract year at 36, was back in full practice mode Wednesday and will start Sunday because a compromise was reached.
Per ESPN, Brown’s original contract called for a base salary of $10 million, and another $1 million signing bonus. The Seahawks reworked the deal to provide a $7 million signing bonus and reduced the salary to $4 million. They added a voidable year for 2022 to spread the bonus over two years to help with the salary cap. Achieving other incentives could bump his total compensation to $12 million.
“What it came to wasn’t exactly what I wanted,” Brown said. “I wanted something more long term, something past this year. I’m feeling good, I feel like I’m still playing at a high level, and I want to continue to do that here. It
didn’t quite work out that way, but it’s all good.
“There has never been any bad blood on my end. I want to make that be known. I love and respect everybody in this organization and the feeling is mutual.”
He gave a shout-out to Wilson.
“It meant a lot — Russ is my guy,” he said. “It meant a lot to me, he didn’t have to do that. His legacy here is set in stone. It just goes to show how much he appreciates the work that I put in. I love the guy.”
Brown clapped back at the speculation, given his age and some knee problems, that 2020 was to have been his final season.
“The people that watch my film thought otherwise,” he said. “I felt like my film didn’t show that I was just holding on. I didn’t think I was out there trying to hold on from week to week. I felt like I was dominant. A lot of my peers felt that way. I didn’t want to walk away from this game then, and I don’t want to walk away after this year.
“I’m ready to go and keep producing.”
With Brown settled, along with SS Jamal Adams and FS Quandre Diggs, the Seahawks reduced the off-season’s potential controversies to murmurs, then silence.
Regarding personnel, the Seahawks have only one thing left to do before flying to Indy: Get the long line of people hired to play cornerback in from the parking lot, and provide them a locker and a hot meal. Please check your email in-box to see if you have an invitation.