Report: Return of Russell Wilson will be Broncos home opener

May 15, 2024, 8:57 AM | Updated: 1:37 pm

The much-anticipated return of Russell Wilson to Denver wasn’t scheduled for Week 1. But the NFL decided not to wait long for it to happen.

Wilson and the Pittsburgh Steelers will ride to Denver for a Week 2 showdown, according to a report from Andrew Fillipponi, a host at KDKA-FM 93.7 in Pittsburgh.

This comes on the heels of yesterday’s report from Dave “Softy” Mahler in Seattle that the Broncos would open the 2024 schedule against the Seahawks.

Of course, the last time Denver began a regular season in the Pacific Northwest was in 2022, when Russell Wilson made his regular-season debut against the team for which he played 10 seasons. Wilson played well, but the Broncos crumbled under the weight of goal-to-go fumbles and slapdash late-game clock mismanagement from then-coach Nathaniel Hackett in a 17-16 loss.

While the Broncos have moved on — albeit in the midst of eating an $85 million dead-cap figure over the next two seasons, including $53 million this year — it’s impossible to properly discuss the arc of their offseason without referring to Wilson, who had his career-worst season in 2022 before rebounding somewhat in 2023, at least as revealed by top-line statistics. But Wilson caused a slew of sacks, and appeared to struggle with aspects of Sean Payton’s offense throughout the year, and after a Christmas Eve loss to New England, Payton benched Wilson in favor of Jarrett Stidham.

Russell Wilson subsequently said the Broncos threatened to bench him at midseason if he didn’t alter his contract to delay the onset of injury-protection guarantees, which led to a letter from the NFL Players Association. During Super Bowl week, NFLPA executive director Lloyd Howell said the matter was resolved, but that Wilson was “mistreated”.

All this, plus the potential for first-round pick Bo Nix to start the game for Denver, could lead to a spicy duel. During rookie minicamp, Nix displayed the sort of quick processing and rhythm-and-timing abilities in Payton’s scheme that are not Wilson’s forte.

The Steelers hope Wilson’s skill set — which involves extending the play and going beyond play structure — will be a better fit for them than it was in Denver.

But it appears Denver won’t have to wait long to find out what it’s missing.


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