Broncos legend Karl Mecklenberg tees off on Russell Wilson: 'Isn't a leader'
Broncos legend Karl Mecklenberg tees off on Russell Wilson: 'Isn't a leader'
Russell Wilson's release, which will come on March 13, has sent many to comment on the Denver Broncos' quarterback, including one of its legends, linebacker Karl Mecklenberg.
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Russell Wilson’s expected release from the Denver Broncos brings a disastrous end to what some are calling one of the worst contracts in NFL history. 

As the team looks ahead to replacing Wilson, which is expected to be made official when the new league year begins on March 13, one Broncos legend didn’t hold back his thoughts on the situation. 

Linebacker Karl Mecklenberg, a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro who racked up all 1,118 combined tackles in a Broncos uniform during his 12 NFL seasons, sounded off on Wilson in a social media post. 


Karl Mecklenberg on field

23 Oct. 1994. Denver Broncos Linebacker Karl Mecklenburg (77) on the field during a game against the San Diego Chargers played at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, CA. (John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

"Russell Wilson isn’t a leader," he tweeted. "The foolishness that went on in his first year at Denver with a private coach, his own office at the facility, and family at training camp when other players didn’t have those privileges, proved his self centeredness."

Mecklenberg is one of many who believe Wilson's time in Denver was a major disappointment. He lasted just two seasons with the organization after signing a massive $242-plus million contract over five years following the blockbuster trade with the Seattle Seahawks. 

However, the marriage didn't last long as Mecklenberg pointed out the reports coming out of Denver in his first year, and things got even worse when Sean Payton joined as head coach in 2023. 


"We spoke with Russell Wilson today to inform him of his release after the start of the league year," general manager George Paton and head coach Sean Payton said in a joint statement. "On behalf of the Broncos, we thank Russell for his contributions and dedication to our team and community while wishing him the best as he continues his career."

"As we move forward, we are focused on building the strongest team possible for the 2024 season and beyond. We are excited to improve this offseason and will have the flexibility to get better through the draft and free agency."

Wilson would lose his starting role in 2023 to Jarrett Stidham despite having a crucial win over the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to keep the Broncos in playoff contention. 

It was a situation that involved Wilson's lucrative contract, where the Broncos wanted amended language and the Super Bowl-winning quarterback didn't oblige. 

Russell Wilson warms up

Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High on December 31, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Perry Knotts/Getty Images)

He played 30 regular-season games in a Denver uniform, going 11-19 during that span including a 7-8 record last year. 

Wilson, who still wants to win Super Bowls, said in a recent episode of the "I AM ATHLETE" podcast that he wanted to stay with the Broncos.

"I've got more fire than ever, honestly, especially over the past two years and what I've gone through," the 35-year-old Super Bowl champion said. "Whether it's in Denver or somewhere else. I hope it's in Denver. I hope I get to finish there. I committed there. I want to be there."

But the free agent pool will get Wilson instead, as he looks to find his next team in the NFL at 35 years old. 

Russell Wilson vs Patriots

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) comes off the field after losing to the New England Patriots 26-23 at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado on Sunday December 24, 2023. (Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


As for the Broncos, they could look at someone like Kirk Cousins in free agency before thinking about the NFL Draft, where they have the 12th overall pick. 

Scott Thompson is a sports writer for Fox News Digital.

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