Sean Payton Puts Russell Wilson On Blast For Lack Of Football Focus

Payton demanded Wilson focus less on his brand deals and public image.

BYBen Mock
Los Angeles Rams v Denver Broncos

Many view Sean Payton as the savior of the Denver Broncos. The veteran head coach came out of retirement to try and fix a Broncos team that hasn't had a winning season since 2016. While a revolving door at quarterback hasn't helped that situation, the franchise appears to be cursed after not even bringing in Russell Wilson helped right the ship.

In a comedy of errors that proves satirical writing is dead, the Broncos went 5-12 with Wilson under center in 2022. If that wasn't bad enough, they didn't even have the high first-round draft pick that would usually have afforded them because they had traded it to the Seahawks for Wilson. Now Payton has taken the reins and is already bringing his hard-nosed attitude to the Mile High City.

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Payton Doesn't Have Time For Wilson's Antics

DENVER, COLORADO - AUGUST 26: Head coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos walks on the field before a preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams at Empower Field at Mile High on August 26, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

In a recently published ESPN+ profile of Payton, Seth Wickersham revealed that Payton may already be at odds with his new QB. "He told Wilson that to salvage his career he needed to focus less on Russell Inc. “Will you fucking stop kissing all the babies?” he said. “You’re not running for public office.” It's no secret that Wilson has leaned hard into his off-field ventures in recent years. Who can forget the bizarre and much-mocked Subway commercial? However, it's clear that Payton, who coached Drew Brees to a Super Bowl, wants Wilson to be a football player first and a brand sponsor second.

Most experts see the Broncos improving on 2022 but not becoming a winning team just yet. For example, Fox Sports has the Broncos winning seven games in year one of the Payton Project. While it's unlikely that 7-10 would be good enough for the top two in the draft, it might be enough to give the Broncos trade material to go after their QB of the future. The 2024 draft is highlighted by USC's Caleb Williams and North Carolina's Drake Maye. However, it appears that Payton views the main obstacle as Wilson's lack of focus on football. How do you think the Broncos are going to do in 2023? Let us know in the comments.

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About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.