When the Denver Broncos emerged victorious in the pursuit for its next franchise quarterback, the organization was already deep in potential sale discussions. Adding Russell Wilson to the mix was a cherry on top for any potential bidder.
For the new prospective buyers of the organization, members of the Walton family have kept in close contact with the quarterback whose contract they’ll pay once the acquisition receives proper approval from other NFL owners.
Greg Penner – Walmart chairman and son-in-law to Rob Walton – called Wilson to share the news of the family’s winning bid. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback, who was dining with his wife Ciara when he received the call, enjoyed a moment of merriment – audibly exclaiming, “this must be good news,” before answering the phone.
Russell Wilson is undeniably an asset to whichever team possesses the ultra-competitive quarterback. The Walton’s and Penner’s understand the importance of starting an important relationship on the right foot. Wilson notices the effort, rightly pointing out, “I think in today’s football, that relationship between players and owners is so critical.”
Wilson’s Footprint in Denver Beyond Football
But the communication with the future ownership group reaches beyond the Walton’s and Penner’s. The compact quarterback conversed with Mellody Hudson – chairwoman of Starbucks and co-CEO of Ariel Investments – before expressing to Broncos media the importance of representation in a less-than-diverse group of league owners.
The 10-year veteran, who spent all ten seasons in Seattle until a trade brought him to the AFC West in March, didn’t mince words when speaking to the press.
“This is a big deal, this is history,” Wilson said. “I think it’s maybe gone over people’s heads a little bit, but it’s news. I think it’s a tremendous representation for minorities and Blacks in particular, but also the growth of the NFL and what they’re trying to do and the Waltons to do that and honor that.”
Quarterback, Coach Lead Evolution for Budding Broncos
As it pertains to the on-field product, the dream for first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett and Wilson is the positive and complimentary addition of a supreme weapon on offense to its stingy defense.
When Denver traded three players and five draft picks for Wilson in March, it staked its claim as a true competitor for Super Bowl LII. The former Walter Payton Man of The Year winner provides a steady hand in a huddle starved for a leader under center.
The carousel of Drew Lock, Teddy Bridgewater and Case Keenum ultimately led to the demise of former head coach Vic Fangio. Entering his second season with roster control, general manager George Paton answered the prayers of the Denver faithful, acquiring the pièce de résistance using any means necessary.
In a stacked division, it’s a tough ask for a first-year head coach to rise to the top. But the presence of one of the league’s best quarterbacks is certainly a positive start. And for Wilson, keeping his eyes on the prize is a head-to-toe task: