Gone, but certainly not forgotten.
No matter how many boos reigned down from Seattle Seahawks fans towards now-Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson in the Seahawks' 17-16 win on Monday night, the ten years of success shared between the two will always exist.
Wilson led the Seahawks to the playoffs eight times and was at the helm of two of the franchise's three Super Bowl appearances. On an individual level, he made nine Pro Bowls and finished inside the top five in NFL Offensive Player of the Year voting three times.
From arriving in 2012 as a wide-eyed third-round draft pick out of Wisconsin to the chorus of boos he received Monday night, Wilson's ride to Broncos country was aided by countless Seahawks teammates, some of whom are still on the team.
Perhaps the most prominent of Wilson's former teammates is receiver DK Metcalf, who went from heavily doubted second-round pick to 1,000-yard receiver and All-Pro performer. After the game, Wilson and Metcalf swapped jerseys, and while the former Ole Miss star wouldn't reveal what was said between the two, he did share his initial reaction to seeing Wilson in Broncos colors.
“Just seeing him in a Broncos jersey was shocking to me," Metcalf said. "I didn’t think it would phase me that much, but just seeing that in person was really shocking.”
Metcalf was far from the only Seahawk who experienced mixed emotions seeing Wilson on the opposing sideline. Running back Rashaad Penny took handoffs from Wilson for four years, and while he acknowledged that the moment was certainly different, stated that it was simply another game.
"It was definitely weird," Penny said. "I’ve been here for four years, and I’ve seen that just being on this side with him. I have all of the respect for Russ, (but) for us, it was just another week.”
Wilson being in the visitors' locker room had an effect on more than just some long-tenured Seahawks. Safety Josh Jones, who joined Seattle for the final few games of Wilson's tenure, noted the oddity of the situation while also recognizing that the familiarity with the quarterback's skillset aided the Seahawks defense.
“I was here towards the end, I played four games, but it was a little different seeing him on the other side," stated Jones, who played nearly 80 percent of Seattle's defensive snaps. "(Wilson) does what he does, you can’t take it away from him, but we knew coming in here what we had to do. We had to eliminate the big plays and just contain him.”
However, it wasn't all reminiscent of Seattle's side. Veteran Pro Bowl safety Quandre Diggs, who played with Wilson for two and a half seasons, was strictly business after the Seahawks win.
"I mean it doesn't matter if it was Russ or (Matthew) Stafford across (from us)," Diggs said. "You want to win the first game and get off on a great note and get you some positive momentum coming off of the offseason. Great game, love Russ, but tonight, Seahawks got the win."
In the end, the message is clear: Wilson still has several friends in Seattle's locker room, but this was a statement game for the Seahawks and an indication that they're ready to compete even without the franchise's all-time leading passer.
Still, while Monday night's contest officially closed the Wilson era in Seattle, it was evident from his former teammates – and fans – that his presence won't be forgotten anytime soon, be it for better or for worse.
You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter @DFlickDraft
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Gone, but certainly not forgotten.