Russell Wilson praising Steelers, Mike Tomlin actually wasn't a shot at Sean Payton

Russell Wilson didn't have the greatest go of it in Denver. But Wilson took the high road when discussing life as a Steeler with Mike Tomlin.
Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

Russell Wilson is happy to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. Despite playing for the veteran minimum, Wilson is still owed his entire Broncos salary next season, so he'll be paid as much as a quarterback at the peak of their abilities.

However, the Broncos treated Wilson poorly in his final season in Denver. The Broncos benched him despite Wilson's respectable play throughout the year. Denver wanted to avoid owing the Super Bowl-winning quarterback even more money, and found a way out of his contract this offseason minus the 2024 guaranteed salary they owe him.

Wilson is relieved to be playing for a coach who believes in him, even if that's only for one year. Wilson is the ultimate bridge quarterback, and with Justin Fields behind him, may relinquish the job to the former first-round pick out of Ohio State one day.

Russell Wilson is all class when discussing life with Steelers

Still, when Wilson discussed how proud he was to play for Tomlin in 2024, it had very little to do with Payton.

“To play 13 years in the NFL (is amazing),” Wilson said. “To be able to play for Mike Tomlin; to stand side by side with him and try to accomplish all the goals that I want to accomplish with the Steelers organization, and what that represents for the NFL, is one of the greatest gifts in the world.”

Wilson specifically spoke of the development of black quarterbacks in the NFL since he joined the league. Patrick Mahomes, who is arguably the best in the league and a former rival of Wilson's, is African-American as well.

“For me to be able to go to back-to-back Super Bowls, and win one of them, I think opened up a lot of doors,” Wilson said. “Now you see guys like Patrick Mahomes who won it; it’s really just us so far, but there’s more to come.

The Steelers are one of the most pristine organizations in all of sports, and they now feature a black quarterback and head coach, which is a rarity in the NFL. It's something both men should be proud of.