NFL

Broncos coach Hackett, teammates come to QB Wilson’s defence

By Sports Desk November 30, 2022

This has not been the season anyone envisioned for Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos and that has led to reports that the veteran quarterback has lost some members of the locker room.

Not true according to head coach Nathaniel Hackett and several teammates.

The Broncos were expected to be a Super Bowl contender after the offseason acquisition of Wilson, but they are last in the AFC West at 3-8 and have been hit hard by injuries.

"To me, it's all gossip. I know this locker room - we have a fantastic locker room," Hackett said.

"When you look at a guy like Russ, he's unbelievable. I've never seen somebody work that hard. I've never seen somebody try to embrace a team like he has."

Wilson has just eight touchdown passes and five interceptions in 10 starts while completing 58.9 per cent of his passes, by far the worst mark of his career. He has also been sacked a career-high 56 times behind a patchwork offensive line.

Safety Justin Simmons reacted to a report on an NFL Network podcast that Wilson had lost part of the locker room.

"I'll say this: I'll say Russ is an amazing leader," Simmons said. "He's an amazing teammate and ... I know it's a quarterback-driven league, but leadership never falls under one guy."

Simmons said there is plenty of blame to go around for the Broncos' season, but he was stumped by the latest barb directed at Wilson.

"I don't know where that report would have come from and quite honestly... I would just like to keep the questions geared toward Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens," Simmons said.

Guard Dalton Risner also dismissed the report, when he said: "That's just hilarious in my opinion. That's funny. Because I don't think it's true. I know it's not true. I know that I know who Russell is. I respect him so much. I respect the way he integrates within our locker room.

"And I feel all year he hasn't been able to catch a break. I feel like all year people are just making up rumours about him, whether that be he's not a good teammate or he's lost the locker room, apparently, or whatever the heck it is. A lot of it is just so outlandish to me because I get to see him work every day."

Wilson was asked if he sensed any teammates had an issue with him.

"No. I think that first of all, everybody wants to win," he said. "I've got great relationships in that locker room. So, whoever is trying to tear it down, you can't.

"The best thing about it is it's been an amazing journey coming here, moving here, being here. … It's a blessing to be on this team and I’m honoured to be a part of this."

The Broncos' dismal season took another turn early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers when Wilson and defensive tackle Mike Purcell had a brief sideline blowup.

Purcell referred to the exchange as "just frustration" after the game, while Wilson said, "Mike and I are on the same page."

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    A video on social media showed armed officers rush into Union Station on a day supporters gathered near the building at the end of the parade route to celebrate Sunday’s victory with the team’s players and staff.

    The Kansas City Police Department said at least 22 people suffered gunshot wounds, including the fatally injured victim, and confirmed three people had been taken into custody.

    Radio Station KKFI said on social media that one of their presenters, DJ Lisa Lopez, was killed in the shooting.

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    Kansas City Police Department chief Stacey Graves said at a press conference: “At the conclusion of the Chiefs’ rally today, there were shots fired on the west side of Union Station.

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    At a later briefing, she added: “We have confirmed there is one deceased person. Our gunshot total has went up to 22.

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    The Kansas City Chiefs confirmed their players, coaches and staff were all safe and accounted for.

    “We are truly saddened by the senseless act of violence that occurred outside of Union Station at the conclusion of today’s parade and rally,” the team said in a statement.

    “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and all of Kansas City.

    “We are in close communication with the Mayor’s office as well as the Kansas City Police Department.

    “At this time, we have confirmed that all of our players, coaches, staff and their families are safe and accounted for.

    “We thank the local law enforcement officers and first responders who were on-scene to assist.”

    Kansas City players and staff were celebrating beating the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas on Sunday to become the first back-to-back Super Bowl champions in 19 years.

    Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes took to social media, saying: “Praying for Kansas City.”

    Travis Kelce wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: “I am heartbroken over the tragedy that took place today. My heart is with all who came out to celebrate with us and have been affected. KC, you mean the world to me.”

    Linebacker Drue Tranquill posted: “Please join me in prayer for all the victims in this heinous act. Pray that doctors & first responders would have steady hands & that all would experience full healing.”

    Offensive lineman Trey Smith thanked first responders, adding: “You’re the ones who should be celebrated today.”

    A statement from the NFL read: “We are deeply saddened by the senseless shooting that occurred today near the end of the rally in Kansas City for the Chiefs. Our thoughts are with the victims and everyone affected.

    “We are grateful for the quick and thorough response of law enforcement and emergency personnel.”

    Earlier, the city had been in party mode as Super Bowl MVP Mahomes and team-mate Travis Kelce took centre stage on a platform near Union Station.

    Mahomes had told a cheering crowd the Chiefs were going for a “three-peat” next season while Kelce led the supporters in some chanting.

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    The Kansas City Police Department said at least 22 people suffered gunshot wounds, including the fatally injured victim, and confirmed three people had been taken into custody.

    Kansas City Police Department chief Stacey Graves said at a press conference: “At the conclusion of the Chiefs’ rally today, there were shots fired on the west side of Union Station.

    “Immediately, officers responded to the area, took two people into custody and also immediately rendered life-sustaining aid to those victims.”

    At a later briefing, she added: “We have confirmed there is one deceased person. Our gunshot total has went up to 22.

    “Right now, we’re still working on the total number of victims. This is still an active investigation.

    “We do have three persons detained and under investigation for today’s incident.

    “Our investigators are working with all of the surviving victims to connect them with loved ones. We are also working to identify our deceased victim so we can notify their family as soon as possible.”

    The Kansas City Chiefs confirmed their players, coaches and staff were all safe and accounted for.

    “We are truly saddened by the senseless act of violence that occurred outside of Union Station at the conclusion of today’s parade and rally,” the team said in a statement.

    “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and all of Kansas City.

    “We are in close communication with the Mayor’s office as well as the Kansas City Police Department.

    “At this time, we have confirmed that all of our players, coaches, staff and their families are safe and accounted for.

    “We thank the local law enforcement officers and first responders who were on-scene to assist.”

    Kansas City players and staff were celebrating beating the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas on Sunday to become the first back-to-back Super Bowl champions in 19 years.

    Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes took to social media, saying: “Praying for Kansas City.”

    Linebacker Drue Tranquill posted: “Please join me in prayer for all the victims in this heinous act. Pray that doctors & first responders would have steady hands & that all would experience full healing.”

    Offensive lineman Trey Smith thanked first responders, adding: “You’re the ones who should be celebrated today.”

    A statement from the NFL read: “We are deeply saddened by the senseless shooting that occurred today near the end of the rally in Kansas City for the Chiefs. Our thoughts are with the victims and everyone affected.

    “We are grateful for the quick and thorough response of law enforcement and emergency personnel.”

    Earlier, the city had been in party mode as Super Bowl MVP Mahomes and team-mate Travis Kelce took centre stage on a platform near Union Station.

    Mahomes had told a cheering crowd the Chiefs were going for a “three-peat” next season while Kelce led the supporters in some chanting.

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    The Kansas City Police Department confirmed that one person had died and two armed people had been taken into custody following the incident.

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    “Right now, we have up to 10 to 15 injured. We do not have an exact number of people who were victims of a gunshot wound.

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