Russell Wilson: The Quarterback That Connects
Drafted by Major League Baseball. Released by his college football team. Russell Wilson’s unconventional journey to the NFL was just the start. Now he’s (always) focused on redefining the modern QB.
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"You want to catch the log in your stomach, never in your chest."
Standing in front of a horizontal log raised 61⁄2 feet off the ground, the Marine instructor is explaining the inherent dangers of this obstacle—namely, a cracked sternum and broken ribs—to Russell Wilson.
To demonstrate proper form, the instructor leaps toward the log, catches it in his belly, rolls over the top, and lands deftly, grabbing the dirt with both hands—a drill designed to teach newbies to bend their knees when they land, he says.
Wilson is watching intently as he prepares to do the same. He’s on Marine Corps Base Quantico, just outside Triangle, VA, getting ready to show Men’s Fitness what he’s made of, and this first challenge is a tricky one—a shattered sternum wouldn’t sit well with the people of the Pacific Northwest, no matter how well the day’s photos turn out. Wilson’s longtime friend Scott Pickett is standing next to me, and he’s visibly nervous. It’s not long before Wilson, ready to attempt the drill, springs into action.
He catches the log square in the chest—eliciting a groan from Pickett— and Wilson is stuck there until he drops to the ground, frustrated. The Marines are quick to offer tips, and even help him to the top. Instead of giving in, Wilson fires off questions to the assembled corpsmen, determined to get past this hindrance the right way. Satisfied with the Marines’ advice, Wilson backtracks and then soars toward the log again.
This time he takes the hit right in the gut, swings his leg up, and flips his body so it’s lying flat on the log, just like his instructor demonstrated moments before. The Marines erupt in cheers, and Wilson is all smiles.