When Russell Wilson stands in front of a group of future would-be NFLers, he doesn’t tell them how many passes they’ll complete, touchdowns they’ll catch or sacks they’ll rack up.
But he does tell the kids that they will succeed. And he helps them envision that success, whether it comes in football or some other endeavor.
That comes naturally to Wilson, who talks about his aspirations when his NFL days are done just as much as he does about his hopes for his success as the starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks. He says his academy is about more than football. It’s also about teaching the kids to dream.
“To let them know to dream in something greater,” Wilson says. “I want to be a CEO with a business one day. …I want to own my own company and do my own things. But also, I want to be the best quarterback to ever play the game.”
The former Wolfpack quarterback is in Raleigh today running the Russell Wilson Passing Academy, a football camp that reaches out to inner-city and underprivileged youth. Wilson and other former Wolfpack players like J.R. Sweezy and Earl Wolff try to impart fundamental skills for all football positions.
Wilson loves bringing kids to the academy, which is also held in his hometown of Richmond, Va., Spokane, Wash., Seattle Wash., and Madison, Wisc., during the summer. “I love kids. Just to be around them, to share moments, to share my experience, that’s my biggest goal in this,” he says.
And Wilson gets something from the kids in return as he witnesses their dedication. “It’s really an honor to be here,” he says. “They’re all special kids, and they work so hard.”