RENTON, Wash. -- April 27, 2011.
It was a Tuesday. North Carolina State coach Tom O'Brien told Russell Wilson, who had graduated early, his services were no longer needed by the Wolfpack.
A large part of the reason for O'Brien's decision will be standing on the field with Wilson again Sunday.
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to Seattle for Sunday's game against the Seahawks, starting quarterback Mike Glennon will be in tow. He replaced Wilson at NC State when O'Brien made the decision that Wilson was wanted anymore, in part because of his baseball commitments.
Having a skilled backup in Glennon -- who also possesses the more standard frame for a quarterback, he's seven inches taller than Wilson -- helped the decision.
Wilson was the runner-up for ACC Player of the Year. O'Brien was concerned that Wilson, who had already signed a professional baseball contract, was more concerned about that.
So, he let a future NFL starter go and replaced him with another.
Before O'Brien split them, Glennon and Wilson were a bit of an odd couple. Wilson compared Glennon to a "giraffe" Thursday, taking a good-natured shot at his much taller former traveling roommate.
"It was definitely a unique situation -- a player of his caliber," Glennon said. "He was a great teammate but it worked out for both of us. He went on to have a great year at Wisconsin, led them to the Rose Bowl. And then obviously, what he did as a rookie and is doing right now.
"For me, it gave me an opportunity to start for two years at N.C. State and then put myself in a situation to get drafted. We've been nothing but supportive of one another through all that. We stay in touch with one another. I was happy for him and all his accomplishments and I think he feels the same way about me."
The move altered Wilson's life. Since he graduated early, the NCAA couldn't keep him from playing immediately that fall. Only NC State could restrict his movement by keeping him out of the ACC and away from any team it would play that year.
Wilson said he heard from SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 schools -- Washington was not among them, the best he could recall.
He narrowed his choice to Auburn and Wisconsin. After visiting the Badgers, he decided Madison would be the proper landing place.
"I just trusted my instincts," Wilson said about the decision process.
He led Wisconsin to a Big Ten title game win and to the Rose Bowl. He finished ninth in Heisman Trophy balloting.
One other thing going to Wisconsin did for Wilson: It put him behind a big offensive line, enabling him to prove he could play behind taller guys and be effective in the pocket.
Three of Wisconsin's starters on the offensive line went on to the NFL. Two were 6-foot-4, one 6-foot-5, one 6-foot-6 and the other 6-foot-7.
Glennon played well enough in Wilson's place and the year after that he was drafted in the third round by the Bucs.
After Tampa Bay discarded disgruntled starter Josh Freeman earlier this season, Glennon took over. In his first four starts, he's thrown more times than any other quarterback in NFL history over their first four starts.
Glennon has 181 passing attempts already. Wilson has just 205 attempts in twice as many games.
A new competition between the two will start Sunday.
(c)2013 The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)
Visit The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) at www.TheNewsTribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services