Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton came into the organization, and in his first few months at the helm, appeared to have turned the culture on its head.
Part of the turn was giving star quarterback Russell Wilson a bit of a gut check. Payton told Wilson he needed to stop focusing on “Russell Inc.” so much and how he maintains his image off of the field, according to ESPN.
“Will you f—ing stop kissing all the babies? You’re not running for public office,” Payton told Wilson.
“Mr. Unlimited” has proven to have some cringeworthy moments off of the field and has been described as having “one of the least authentic personalities” in the league, according to NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt.
Earlier in the year, The Athletic published an explosive report about Wilson and his time with the Seattle Seahawks, as well as his transition to the Broncos. Wilson reportedly asked Seahawks ownership to fire coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider at one point and replace them with Payton.
A lawyer for Wilson called that notion “entirely fabricated.” Wilson later expressed his support for both Carroll and Schneider in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The issue jump-started Wilson’s trade to Denver and later Payton’s emergence as head coach, according to The Athletic. After a poor 2022 campaign, Payton took over for Nathaniel Hackett and Jerry Rosburg.
The office Wilson was given was an office at the team facility and brought a support staff with him but all of that ended in the final two weeks of the season, according to The Athletic. Payton then put the final nail in the coffin on Wilson’s office and support staff.
“We’re not going to do that here,” he said.
Last season, Wilson had 3,524 passing yards and 16 touchdown passes in 15 games. It was the lowest touchdown pass total of Wilson’s career.