Sep 12, 2022 - Sports

Russell Wilson looks for brand refresh in Denver

 Russell Wilson leads his team to the field before a preseason game. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/Denver Post via Getty Images
Russell Wilson leads his team to the field before a preseason game. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/Denver Post via Getty Images

Russell Wilson's debut game as a Denver Bronco is as scripted as his life.

Why it matters: Wilson, 33, is the new face of Denver. A Super Bowl champion, philanthropist and businessman whose fortunes are intertwined with the city's future.

The intrigue: Ever since the Broncos signed the QB in March, he's put on a charm offensive in his new city.

Between the lines: Wilson's brand is seemingly as important to him as winning on the field.

Yes, but: Whether it's a veneer or real is one of the most often debated aspects in coverage of Denver's new superstar.

His stock took significant hits before he joined the Broncos. He made a "dangerous" claim that a water company he repped saved him from getting concussions. He drew criticism for rewriting history in a graduation speech. And he emerged as "a divisive figure" in the locker room.

  • Even associates wanted him exposed. For instance, he professed transparency, but made guests sign nondisclosure agreements to enter his box at Seattle Mariners baseball games.
  • His team even tried to trade him in 2018, a year after the internal drama became public. And just before his relocation this year, Wilson went on a "scorched earth campaign" trashing his former teammates.

The bottom line: The Broncos offer Wilson an opportunity for a new start, but if he doesn't win, this year his outlook in Denver may crumble under the pressure.

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