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How Russell Wilson's new contract helps secure his place in Seattle sports history

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wears a Seattle SuperSonics basketball jacket at the team's headquarters following a news conference Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Earlier in the week, Wilson signed a $140 million, four-year extension with the Seahawks.

We're taking a closer look at what Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's new $140 million, four-year contract means for the team and the city of Seattle. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about the importance of securing Wilson and, in turn, securing his place in Seattle sports history. 

Thiel said Wilson's new contract, which includes a $65 million signing bonus and a no-trade clause, says a lot about Russell Wilson's relationship with Seattle.

"Wilson's affection for the franchise and the city came through clearly in his press conference," he said. "He really likes being in Seattle. He likes the relationships he's made. His family is well adjusted here. He's made a huge number of business investments here. So, his affection and attachment for Seattle is special."

Despite all its "sparkling achievements of the last decade," Thiel continued, Seattle still feels a bit of sports abandonment. 

"The city lost the Pilots (baseball team) to Milwaukee in 1969. They lost the Sonics in 2008 to Oklahoma City.

"There've been star players such as Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Ichiro Suzuki, all of whom have left for what they thought were greener pastures. (For) some it was true, some it wasn't but that abandonment is a big deal.

"One of the reasons they've embraced Edgar Martinez is he was a lifelong Mariner. As Steve Largent was a lifelong Seahawk. And Walter Jones was a lifelong Seahawk.

"So, that's an important emotional element to this contract. It sets things in place for Russell to be a 20-year Seahawk, which would be a big deal and probably certify him as the greatest sports figure in Seattle sports history."

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Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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