RENTON After Atlanta blocked Steven Hauschka’s extra point last weekend to stay ahead by a point late, when it looked dark for the Seahawks, guess who the brightest guy was on their sideline.
“All right! Keep believing with me!” Russell Wilson said with 4 minutes left in last Sunday’s game, walking onto the field’s edge to greet the extra-point team as it trudged solemnly to the sidelines inside a silenced CenturyLink Field.
NFL Films had a microphone on Wilson during the game for its weekly “Inside the NFL” highlights show on Showtime television.
“We are going to make it when we need to!” Wilson told his teammates, and Hauschka. “We are going to make it when we have to!
Two minutes and 46 seconds of playing time plus an Earl Thomas interception later, Wilson was right. Again. Hauschka made the kick that beat the Falcons, a 44-yard field goal with 1:57 to go.
On Thursday, three days before the Seahawks (4-1) try to cement their NFC West lead at division-rival Arizona (3-3), the quarterback explained the origins of his constant positivity. He explained what’s behind comments such as this one Thursday describing being Seattle’s quarterback: “I wouldn’t want anybody else doing it but me...because I believe in myself.”
And in his explanation, he had advice for parents.
“I had so many opportunities to play multiple sports,” the 27-year-old Wilson said. “When I was younger I was constantly playing baseball. I was constantly playing football, basketball. I always try to tell parents all the time, you know, they always ask me, ‘What do you recommend for our kids?’ And I always say to them that it’s important for kids to go outside and play. Go outside as much as you can. Play multiple sports. Because you also get to work on your social skills with other people and other teams, and go through ups and downs and challenges. But you also get to meet knew people, all those sorts of things -- and the, ‘Hey, you know what? The game’s not over.’ That type of mentality.
“For me, my parents (Harrison and Tammy) did a great job encouraging me all the time, through ups and downs in life. But also in the game of sport, too, as well.
“When Steve, unfortunately when that kicked was blocked, I just move on to the next play because there is a lot of time left in the game. ... Those are the moments that are galvanizing. You bring people together. We look forward to those moments. I believe that’s why we’ve been able to overcome situations, a lot of opportunities where we’ve been able to win a lot of football games.. Because we don’t give up.
“We believe in Steve, because he’s -- in my opinion -- the best kicker in the National Football League. We’ve got a lot of those guys, across the board. So the confidence never wavers.”
Not even with him down to zero healthy legs.
Oh, the high-ankle sprain he got Sept. 11 in the opening win over Miami and the sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee he got while beating San Francisco Sept. 25 are improving.
“Every day I get better,” he said, “which is exciting.”
“And ultimately it’s about winning games. We’ve been able to do that so far.”
But Wilson’s lack of his usual speed against the Falcons showed his healing process continues. He remains unable to run read options, and after having nearly 25 percent of Seattle’s rushing yards last season he doesn’t have even 8 percent of them through five games and the two injuries this season.
Wilson said Thursday he still has with him at his Lake Washington-side home in Bellevue his physical therapist he flew up from California plus his masseuse.
“Yeah, I do. Yeah, the whole crew is here,” Wilson said. “Drew Morcos is here, and doing the whole physical therapy and all that.”
Last week he described getting up in the middle of nights to continue the therapy on his legs, including heavy doses of ice. I asked him if he expected to that to remain his regimen all season, whether he feels he’ll ever get healthy enough over these 12 games over as many consecutive weekends to close the regular season to end the rehab work.
“I always get treatment. Constantly,” he said. “So it’s not really anything much different. It’s kind of one of those things I do it anyway. I think it’s important just to keep maintaining your body every week. It’s a long season and you want to be as fresh as possible.”
“I just think it’s preparation, being prepared at the highest level and being ready to roll...”
Wilson had one other source of his positive preparation: he said beginning when he was 5 years old, while on drives in the family car around town, his mom and dad would quiz him with hypotheticals -- such as “OK, you just won the Super Bowl. Now what?”
Two decades later, he’s living that “now what?”