Russell Wilson will always reserve a pleasant place in his mind for Kansas City, Missouri.
“Yeah, you know the first game I ever started for the Seahawks was the preseason game, game three, against the Kansas City Chiefs at Kansas City,” Seattle’s now-entrenched starting quarterback said of the 2012 exhibition season — and the site of the Seahawks’ second game of this exhibition season on Friday night.
“It’s a great memory. (To) think about that was only three years ago, or a little bit more.”
Last season Wilson returned to Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since that Aug. 24 night in which he seized Seattle’s starting job by completing 13 of 19 passes with two touchdowns in a 44-14 romp. He and the Seahawks lost at Kansas City in November to fall to 6-4 — the last loss until their second consecutive Super Bowl in February.
That was the $700,000-per-year Wilson. Friday he will start in K.C. as the second-highest-paid quarterback in the game, at an average of $21.9 million per year on the four-year contract extension he signed July 31.
“I think it shows that hard work pays off,” Wilson said of that journey from then to now.
“It’s a collective effort. I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a lot of great players and a great team for three years so far, and we’re looking forward to what’s coming up next. So it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Hopefully for him and backup quarterback R.J. Archer it will more fun than last week’s exhibition opener. Denver had seven sacks, including two of Wilson in two drives; Wilson lost a fumble on the first drive at the Seattle 11. The Broncos sprained No. 2 QB Tarvaris Jackson’s ankle.
So this week offensive line coach Tom Cable changed his starters. Justin Britt, who started all last season as a rookie at right tackle, will start at left guard Friday. Garry Gilliam, an undrafted rookie in 2014 and college tight end, is now the right tackle. Drew Nowak, a guard on the 2014 practice squad, will apparently start at center.
Is Wilson worried about the mixing and matching in front of him three weeks before the regular season?
“No, I’m not concerned. I have full confidence in those guys up front and they’re going to do a phenomenal job,” he said.
“It’s a long season, you know, 16 games. As you guys know in the past three years we’ve had to have guys step up and step in, and that’s great to have versatility up front and guys playing different positions. Coach Cable is going to do a great job of that and those guys are going to be ready to go.”
Wednesday was the 20th and final day of training camp. Veterans get to sleep the rest of the season at home. Rookies, recently signed free agents and the others battling for roster spots without roots around Seattle will remain in the team hotel. So “the end of camp” is not really any different for them. It’s meetings, weight lifting, practice, meetings, hotel, sleep ... and repeat, day after day.
And things won’t be any different for Seattle’s secondary, which will remain without Kam Chancellor for the foreseeable future. The team leader and strong safety remains in a holdout with no end in sight. The Seahawks have the right per the league’s collective bargaining agreement to fine him $850,000 so far — not that the team will impose those fines.
Waiving the sanctions is about the only “carrot” the Seahawks have to offer in this impasse because Seattle’s $4,898,519 remaining under the NFL salary cap is 27th in the 32-team league (according to overthecap.com). Chancellor remains in his stance against the $4.55 million he is scheduled to earn this year — $4.45 million of it guaranteed. He’s got nothing guaranteed beyond that on a deal he signed before the 2013 season and runs through 2017.
FS Earl Thomas practiced while in a red, no-contact jersey for the second consecutive day. With still more than three weeks until the opener at St. Louis it would be a shock if the All-Pro, who had shoulder surgery Feb. 24, doesn’t start in that game. He hasn’t missed a regular-season game in his first five NFL seasons. … Thomas again sat out team scrimmaging. Undrafted rookie Ronald Martin was again in his place. Dion Bailey was the No. 1 SS for Chancellor. It appears Martin and Bailey will be the starting safeties Friday night in the second exhibition game, at Kansas City.