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Russell Wilson suits up for first time in Broncos gear

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Seahawks fans, avert your eyes.

Russell Wilson is back in football gear. And for the first time since joining the NFL in 2012, it's not a Seattle uniform.

Wilson joined some of his new Denver Broncos teammates on the practice field on Monday for the first day of a voluntary three-day minicamp. When he took the field in full Broncos gear — minus the pads — Broncos Twitter was ready to document the moment.

How Wilson looks in his new gear depends on one's allegiances. For Seahawks fans staring down a full roster rebuild on the heels of the greatest stretch of football in franchise history, Monday's coming out amounts to a hefty dose of salt in a festering wound. All bitter. No sweet. This looks terrible.

For Broncos fans, the moment represents hope not legitimately felt around a proud franchise since Peyton Manning's career concluded after the 2015 season. A parade of failed quarterback experiments, featuring Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch and Drew Lock, has mercifully reached its conclusion in the form of a bonafide winner — a nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion named Russ.

ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 16:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos addresses the media at UCHealth Training Center on March 16, 2022 in Englewood, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Russell Wilson has a new home. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Will Wilson's arrival pay off in playoff success?

What Wilson's arrival doesn't represent is a guarantee. While a significant upgrade at football's most important position, Wilson checks in around No. 3 on the quarterback pecking order in the AFC West after showing signs of decline in his final year in Seattle, somewhere between Justin Herbert and Derek Carr and well behind Patrick Mahomes. The AFC West is stacked, and the Broncos were the only team to post a losing record last season.

But the hope is real. Denver has talent on defense and at skill positions as well as a new head coach in Nathaniel Hackett to move on from the stench of the Vic Fangio era. And now Wilson's taking snaps. There's real upside here in the form of relevance and contention not seen in Denver since 2015.

It's a lot more than fans in Seattle can claim.

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