Super Bowl-bound Wilson defies quarterback prototype

Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:05pm EST
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Considered too short to thrive as a quarterback, Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks has proved doubters wrong all the way to the pinnacle of his sport - the Super Bowl.

Wilson fought his way to a starting role in high school and college but slipped to the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft as evaluators felt the 5-foot-11 signal caller would not be a big-time player in the pro ranks.

Now, after two seasons and two Pro Bowl selections, Wilson tackles his biggest challenge yet in a Super Bowl quarterbacking duel against a towering figure on the National Football League landscape in Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos.

A gifted athlete who pondered a baseball career and played two seasons as a minor league second baseman for the Colorado Rockies, Wilson has used his strong arm and quick footwork to set an NFL record for most wins by a quarterback in his first two seasons.

Wilson grew up in Virginia in an athletically-gifted family that placed a premium on education and became a quarterback almost by default.

His father played two sports at Dartmouth College, went to law school at the University of Virginia and nearly made the San Diego Chargers as a receiver after graduating.

Wilson's older brother became a college receiver, and that made young Russell the quarterback in family practice sessions and the pint-sized boy developed a powerful arm.

Talent merged with planning, thought and preparation for Wilson, whose grandfather was a multi-sport athlete in college and became president at Norfolk State University for 22 years, and he became a winner at every level.   Continued...

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson speaks during a news conference after the team's arrival for Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos in Jersey City, New Jersey, January 26, 2014. REUTERS/Adam Hunger