Former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson gave the commencement speech at Wisconsin's graduation ceremonies over the weekend, and in his speech, Wilson had some things to say about his former coach at NC State, Tom O'Brien.
The comments did not reflect well on O'Brien.
"He said, 'Listen son, you're never going to play in the National Football League. You're too small. There's no chance. You've got no shot. Give it up,'" Wilson recalled about a conversation with his former coach. This was after Wilson left NC State to play minor league baseball, and had called about returning to once again play quarterback in his senior season. Wilson was denied the chance by O'Brien; he eventually transferred to Wisconsin, won a Big Ten title and then went on to the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks.
So, if O'Brien said those things, he was clearly wrong.
I say if because one of Wilson's former teammates at NC State doesn't believe the story. Kalani Heppe, an offensive linemen with the Wolfpack who was a senior during Russell's redshirt year, went on Facebook and share his thoughts on Wilson. They were not kind.
The post has since been deleted, but Heppe certainly didn't mince words.
There certainly has been a sense of cold feelings between Wilson and NC State since he left for Wisconsin. During pre-game introductions for games with the Seahawks, Wilson always says he went to Wisconsin, even though he spent a year there as a grad student after graduating from NC State. It's also clear that Wilson didn't get along with O'Brien based on his comments about him, because even if his sole intent was just to inspire the Wisconsin graduates, there are ways to go about it without throwing your former coach under the bus.
But Wilson did not do that, and it was a conscious decision.