So Long, Russell
It’s official now, Russell Wilson’s NC State football career is over. TOB had been giving us signs that this day was coming ever since his Signing Day press conference, but the final hammer came down Friday. NC State granted Russell his release so that he can pursue opportunities in football at another university. If nothing else the timing of this is absurd. A day after NC State celebrated Russell’s selection as the Arthur Ashe Jr. Male Sports Scholar of the Year, he’s being shown the door. Anybody that thinks this decision was made by anybody other than TOB is a little naive. You can feel the resentment towards Wilson playing baseball dripping from these quotes:
“Russell and I have had very open conversations about his responsibilities respective to baseball and football. While I am certainly respectful of Russell’s dedication to baseball these last several years, within those discussions I also communicated to him the importance of his time commitment to NC State Football.”
“My staff and I thank him for his contributions as a member of Wolfpack football and to this University and wish him only the best in the future.”
I don’t necessarily disagree with TOB. In order for our football team to be the best that it can be we need everybody devoted to the program 100%. Having said that, in an ACC where up to 9 schools will be with new starting QBs next season, it’s gonna be awfully tough to swallow seeing Russell playing football in the fall and it not being for the Wolfpack. The terms of the release will not let Russell play for another ACC team or anybody else on the Pack’s schedule, but it’s still a lost opportunity.
Who knows how this works out in the long run for both parties, but in the short term it will probably mean 1 or 2 more losses for the Pack this season. Mike Glennon now not only has the pressure of replacing Wilson, but knowing that TOB ran Wilson off to turn the reigns over to him. No pressure at all. TOB has been declaring Glennon is as good as any QB he’s ever coached (the Atlanta Falcons’ Matty Ice included) so for the sanity of Wolfpack fans everywhere let’s hope he’s right.
In true Russell Wilson fashion he was nothing but classy and said all the right things about this:
“Although I remain undecided on the option of playing college football this coming season, I believe it is in the best interest of the players and coaches involved to end any speculation of my return to the Wolfpack. It has become apparent that the time has come for the program to move on without me.”
“I am forever grateful to NC State for allowing me the privilege of participating in athletics for four years. I especially appreciate the cooperation among coaches who allowed me to pursue my dream of playing two sports. I also want to thank the great fans of NC State University. Your love and support was a gift that I appreciated every day and will treasure my entire life.”
“While my immediate plan includes playing professional baseball, I have not closed the door on football. With one more season of college eligibility remaining, I will continue to explore and consider all my options.”
I really enjoyed watching Russell play for the Red & White, even though he frustrated the hell out of me sometimes with his redzone INTs. As I tweeted yesterday, someone close to the situation said that 3 schools Russell has mentioned are Texas, LSU, and Auburn. Regardless of what Russell said in the press release, I think he has definitely decided he wants to play football in the fall.
Thanks Russell! Best wishes as you pursue your baseball and football careers!
[Update 5/1: Russell talked to the N&O yesterday. He is "really torn up" about leaving because "NC State means the world" to him. He also went on to say, "it's heartbreaking that I had to go." Don't worry Russell, all State fans agree. This situation just went from bad to way way way worse. TOB built up a lot of goodwill with the fans after last year's 9-4 season, but this decision has put the bullseye squarely on his back again. I hope he knows what he's doing or it could get real ugly for him.]
[Update 5/2: I heard today, from a different source close to the situation, that for Russell to play football this fall he would have to break the conditions of his contract w/ the Colorado Rockies. I don't want to speculate what that might mean for his baseball career, just want to put that info out there to shed some more light on what all likely went into this decision.]