The Seahawks thought enough of Russell Wilson at rookie mini-camp to thrust him into competition for the starting QB job. Yes, even after signing free agent Matt Flynn earlier in the year. But as colleague Albert Breer tells us, little is settled with Seattle’s situation under center.
That puts Wilson in an interesting position. Coach Pete Carroll has shown a propensity for allowing rookies (and freshman at USC) to thrive, and this could be another instance of that. He also loves open competitions. But here’s the thing about Wilson… he’s short.
Oh, didn’t you hear? Really short. Like, 5-foot-11 (gasp!) I know, I know, it’s amazing they even let him play football at that height.
It’s a charge that dogged Wilson in the draft, though he didn’t have nearly as many issues at Boise St. QB Kellen Moore, whose off-the-field height problems led to him being undrafted.
What I love, though, is that the former Wisconsin quarterback embraces his height. He has come to grips with being short. As he said in a radio interview with the Big 1070 in Madison, “It makes it that much more unique and that much more cool in terms of the fact that I can play at a high level that I play at 5-11. And that’s the thing about it. And I think that’s something that I definitely embrace.”
He’s right. Being short isn’t the worst thing ever. Trust me. I’m short.
Not that I could play quarterback, but it does make you work for everything. It does make succeeding a little sweeter, especially if you walk under the radar. Sure, you may need to jump up to grab something on the top shelf, but short people often have the quickness and athletic nimbleness that tall dudes lack. Maybe it’s a little tougher to dunk (ahem, impossible). But think Doug Flutie could’ve played the same if he was tall?
I wonder if Saints QB Drew Brees, another shorty, would have worked as hard to develop passing lines and coordinate the offense if he could simply see over his linemen. Bet not. The spread offense that has permeated college football is now alive and well in the NFL. That lends itself to shorter, more athletic QBs. Wider splits from linemen create bigger passing lanes, etc. So, I bet we haven’t seen the last of short people trying to get ahead.
Sure, sure there isn’t a lot of love for short people, as FieldGulls.com illustrates. Fine. But there should be. That’s why I’m hoping Wilson succeeds. I’m hoping he wins the job, forcing people to stop talking about his height. I also think it’s time for other short QBs — most notably Brees — to look out for his overlooked brethren. Brees is 6-feet like I’m 5-foot-10… and I’m not 5-foot-10. So Brees should point out his lack of height — and his supreme success — whenever possible.
So Brees needs to stand — on his tippy toes, perhaps with a step stool — and explain that Wilson has a chance. And so does Moore. And the rest of the short people. Seriously, if we don’t look out for each other, who will? Not the tall people who used to hold things just out of our reach.