Don’t Worry Bronco Fans, Your New “Aging” Quarterback Spends $1 Million a Year on His Body
Russell Wilson wants to play until he's 45. He'll bring longevity to Denver.
For the few online who don’t think that the Denver Broncos just won their blockbuster trade with the Seattle Seahawks for Russell Wilson, their sticking point appears to be the quarterback’s age.
Wilson is 33. He’ll turn 34 in Week 12 of the upcoming season. According to some, he’s too old for Broncos fans to rejoice as if they’ve just landed their long-awaited franchise quarterback. (Since Peyton Manning retired six years ago, Denver has trotted out 11 different men under center.) In the replies to yesterday’s big tweet from Adam Schefter, some commenters are insisting that Wilson has “three to four years left, max.”
If that were the case, Wilson would become a sort of retread of Manning — a superstar stopgap with the opportunity to bring the franchise a ring (albeit in a much tougher version of the AFC West), but not exactly a sustainable cornerstone for a decade or more.
And yet, Wilson sure as hell seems to be preparing his body for play in the 2030s. Late last week, during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with his wife Ciara, Wilson confirmed to Jimmy Kimmel that he spends $1 million a year on his body.
“Yeah, it’s a process,” he said. “It’s a lifestyle. I think when you are trying to play as long as I’m trying to play. I’m trying to play until I’m 45 … For me, the mentality, the focus level, everything you have to do has to be surrounded around that. It’s been an amazing journey for me so far.”
Those numbers — $1 million, 45 years old — might sound a little familiar. For years, LeBron James has claimed to spend over $1 million annually to stay in peak physical conditioning (last year, he acknowledged the number was up to $1.5 million), while Tom Brady long promised reporters he was capable of playing at a high level until age 45. (He retired at age 44, but turns 45 in August, and after an MVP-worthy campaign last season, it’s safe to say he was telling the truth the entire time.)
Wilson just might be telling the truth, too. Can we really bet against the man? Look at the facts: Wilson makes $35 million a year in salary and bonuses, plus $9 million from endorsements. It’s no surprise that he’s willing to carve out a small slice of that pie for personal trainers, home chefs, nutritionists, mobility coaches and massage therapists. There might’ve been a time where fans got a kick out of players performing well in spite of bad habits or bad fuel (think Michael Jordan playing games after boozy golf sessions, or Chad Ochocinco subsisting on Egg McMuffins and chocolate cake), but no more. We want our best players in the best shape possible.
There’s simply too much knowledge out there, and too many competitors angling for every minor advantage. If you’re Wilson, it’s in your best interest to invest some of that money directly into yourself. And that’s especially if he’s interested in following in Brady’s footsteps. Remember, the game has changed. Quarterbacks are better protected by officials these days. There’s a reason that Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and even Ben Roethlisberger were still serviceable (if not still dominant, in the case of Brees) as they approached and played past their age 40 seasons. The new highest-paid player in the league, Aaron Rodgers, just signed a $200-million deal that will take him into his age 42 season.
Wilson doesn’t need to be a mobile quarterback to play another 10 years. He just needs to be evasive — step up in the pocket, scramble out of bounds, throw the ball away when you need to, etc. He’s only had three relevant injuries in his career. Two were in 2016 — a high ankle sprain and an MCL sprain, though neither took him out of the lineup — and the latest was a finger fracture, this past year, which ended his streak of consecutive games played at 149. That’s sixth all-time.
This is a sad day for Seahawks fans. But this could absolutely be the start of a happy decade for Broncos fans. We’ve become accustomed to longevity in other sports: LeBron, Federer, Ronaldo. NFL stars can now join their ranks. As punishing as the league can be, good sleep, good eating and a spare million dollars might be enough to stiff-arm Father Time.
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