Broncos Football

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson takes part in drills during an NFL football training camp session at the team's headquarters Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Centennial, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD — Russell Wilson knows Monday night's matchup between the Broncos and Seahawks isn't a normal game.

The star quarterback, who was traded from Seattle to Denver in March, doesn't like to admit it, but he understands Monday will be emotional for everyone involved.

"There is obviously tremendous love and history there," said Wilson, who played 10 years in Seattle. "I've been there so many times. I've played 100-plus home games there or something like that. I have been there quite a bit and, like I said, some amazing memories, amazing friends and people that I got to meet. So it will definitely be an experience that I have never experienced before. But it will also be an experience that I'm going to enjoy the journey of it all."

Wilson was a nine-time Pro Bowler for the Seahawks and helped them win Super Bowl XLVIII over the Broncos, making him the best quarterback in franchise history.

But during his final few years in Seattle, there was a rift between Wilson, the coaching staff and the front office. Wilson was reportedly upset with Seattle's offensive line play and wanted more say in the offense. Meanwhile, the Seahawks were shopping Wilson in 2018, offering him to the Browns in exchange for the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft — an offer the Browns turned down.

This has led to a messy breakup between Wilson and the Seahawk fanbase.

"At the end of the day, hopefully, after 10 years of trying to make a difference there, win a lot of football games and all of us doing it together, I think that was really special," Wilson said. "People are going to love you, and they are going to hate you sometimes, whatever it may be. But I know that for me I'll forever have love in my heart for Seattle."

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It's yet to be determined if the city of Seattle feels the same way, as many expect Wilson to receive a mix of boos and cheers at Lumen Field. When Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked about it this week, Carroll told Seattle reporters he's "leaving it up to the (fans)" — opting to not take a side either way.

Wilson and the Broncos are hoping to block that out, either way.

"In the end, for us, it’s about just going out to win a football game," Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said. "We know it’s going to be a hostile environment, no matter who the quarterback is out there. I think that just the entire organization — I know that they appreciate him, and they know all the games that he’s won and all the things that he’s done for that community and everybody. We are proud to have him here in Denver. We’re going to rally around him."

Wilson's presence in Denver has made the Broncos relevant again after missing the playoffs the past six seasons. Expectations are the highest they've been since Peyton Manning led the Broncos to their third world championship in 2015-16.

But before the Broncos and Wilson accomplish anything this season, they must first make the highly-anticipated trip to Seattle and rid all the emotions that have been bottled up the past seven months.

"My focus is going to be on joy," Wilson said. "My focus is going to be on my teammates. It’s playing our best football that we can possibly play, against a really good football team. That is what we're going to have to do. To play a great game, you can have passion, you can have some emotion and all that, but you can't be emotional. I think that's just part of it."