SEATTLE — For the first time in a decade, someone other than Russell Wilson will take the first snap of the Seahawks' regular-season opener in 2022. The veteran reportedly was moved to the Denver Broncos in a blockbuster trade on Tuesday, with five draft picks and three veteran players among the package coming back to Seattle in exchange for Wilson.
Wilson's tenure saw the Seahawks reach the highest heights the franchise has seen, with two Super Bowl appearances and eight playoff appearances, including a championship in Super Bowl XLVIII.
The impact of Wilson's time in Seattle goes far beyond the brilliance he displayed over his 10 years in a Seahawks uniform.
In a 2012 NFL Draft class that featured a number of more highly-touted signal-callers, Wilson slipped through the first two rounds without being selected. Finally, at pick No. 75, the Seahawks took a chance on Wilson, whose stock was affected by his lack of size compared to his fellow quarterback prospects.
Wilson paid back that leap of faith and then some, becoming what some call the greatest player in franchise history in the process. Wilson was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four NFL seasons, and immediately went to work making an impact on his new hometown.
The QB was known for weekly visits to Seattle Children's hospital during the NFL season, and helped bring millions of dollars of donations to the organization, which helped kids from across the state.
Wilson's "Why Not You" foundation helped bring over a million meals to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic in conjunction with Food Lifeline, and the organization opened an academy in 2020 with a mission to "serve systemically underserved students by providing innovative and tailored learning experiences."
Although the Seahawks weren't as successful on the field in 2021 as they were in years past, Wilson won the prestigious Bart Starr Award, which honors the NFL player "who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community."
Wilson also was the recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award after the 2020 season, which the NFL's website deems its most prestigious award. The award is given to players who "have exhibited excellence on the field, and whose passion to impact lives extends beyond the game."
He also had a vested interest in other sports franchises in the city, as he joined the ownership group of the Seattle Sounders in 2019.
While bringing so much to the Seattle community off the field, he also brought plenty of success between the lines.
Aaron Rodgers is the only active quarterback who has been named to more Pro Bowls than Wilson since 2012, and the veteran finished top five in AP Offensive Player of the Year voting three times.
Over his time in Seattle, no team in the NFC West was as consistently successful as the Seahawks. While the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals all experienced seasons with five or fewer victories, Seattle never won fewer than seven games with Wilson under center.
Tuesday marks the start of a new era for the franchise, and a new era for Wilson as he hopes to win another championship before hanging up his cleats.
It remains unclear who will start that regular-season opener in 2022 for the Seahawks, but as fans reflect on Wilson's tenure and time in the Pacific Northwest, there should be no shortage of joy for all of the accomplishments on the field and the indelible impact he made away from the gridiron.