In a story from ESPN's Seth Wickersham, Sean Payton is quoted as having said some pretty wicked things towards his quarterback, Russell Wilson. If what Wickersham is reporting is true, and I don't see why it wouldn't be, Payton is sincerely not messing around, and he's not messing around to the highest possible degree.
Payton is precisely what this club and quarterback needed. The story was released today on ESPN.com, but it's through ESPN+, so you'll need a subscription to read the whole thing. However, B/R included a very small snippet of the story from Wickersham, who seems to be very well-connected across the NFL.
When Sean Payton arrived in Denver, his job was and is to help get the Denver Broncos back on track. Payton wasn't specifically hired to fix Russell Wilson, and it's silly to think so; he was hired to fix the Denver Broncos, and a large part of that job is to fix Russell Wilson. Payton is an elite offensive mind who has 15 years of offensive success at the NFL level, and if there is someone who can get Wilson back up to speed, it's likely Payton.
Well, I'm sure that Payton and Wilson had to have some hard conversations this offseason about who Wilson truly is as a quarterback and what needs to be done to fix the Broncos. Apparently, Sean Payton was very, very blunt with his future HOF quarterback:
"As part of his plan to rejuvenate his star quarterback, Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton told Russell Wilson to "focus less on Russell Inc.," according to ESPN's Seth Wickersham.- Sean Payton via Bleacher Report
Wickersham reported Payton was blunt with the nine-time Pro Bowler.
"Will you f--king stop kissing all the babies?" he told Wilson at one point. "You're not running for public office.""
Wow. "Will you f--king stop kissing all the babies?" I mean, my goodness. I'm not sure Sean Payton could be more direct than that. I think "kissing all the babies" is actually a perfect way to describe how Russell Wilson's image and personality works. Let's be honest: Wilson is definitely someone who enjoys the attention and being in the spotlight. He's always been like that.
He wants to build himself a brand, a legacy, an impact larger than a football field, and I get it. He's a good-looking dude who plays the most important position in sports, and he typically plays it very well. It's not weird to see Wilson want to build his empire if you will, but it's clear that he does take it too far sometimes. I do not blame Sean Payton for allegedly saying what he said to Russell Wilson.
And man, Wilson definitely needed to hear it.