Russell Wilson will be back in his birthplace of Cincinnati this Sunday when his 2-2 Seahawks come to the Queen City to face the 4-0 Bengals.
Wilson was born at Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital on Nov. 29, 1988, two months before his hometown Bengals played in Super Bowl XXIII against the San Francisco 49ers. Wilson is now coming off two Super Bowl appearances of his own with the Seahawks as they visit Paul Brown Stadium, and he had a phone call with the Cincinnati media Wednesday prior to that matchup.
"My hometown. The Nast ‘Natti," Wilson said Wednesday on the call. "I used to go there all the time when I was younger. A few times a year because I had family there... Whenever I think of Cincinnati, Ohio I think of White Castle and Skyline Chili."
Not long after Wilson was born, his family moved to Richmond, Virginia where he played football at Richmond Collegiate High School. His college career began at NC State and ended at Wisconsin when he joined the Badgers as a graduate transfer in 2011. Wilson was then drafted by the Seahawks in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft before becoming one of the premier dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL.
That one year at Wisconsin was spent with current Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler, who the Bengals took in the first round of that same draft. Wilson and Zeitler were part of the memorable 2011 Badgers team that went 11-3, won the Big 10 and made it to the Rose Bowl. This week's matchup will be the first time they've been opponents since entering the NFL.
"Just a guy who was strong as an ox, first of all," Wilson said of Zeitler. "Always in the film room studying. He loved the game of football. He’s always talking about a love for the game of football. Very passionate. Good family guy. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, knowing him, a guy I’ve been in the trenches with. I had a lot of fun winning a lot of games at the University of Wisconsin with him. He’s as tough as it gets."
Beating Wilson and the Hawks will be no easy task. Seattle has gone 44-16 with Wilson under center in the regular and postseason, including a 30-8 mark from 2013-14. Those two seasons included two trips to the Super Bowl and one Lombardi Trophy for the 2013 club.
That's Cincinnati's ultimate goal for this season, and beating the Seahawks could go a long way in making that happen.