GLENDALE, Ariz. — For a flash, Russell Wilson, 10 years into his NFL career, was a kid again Sunday afternoon at State Farm Stadium.
He was elusive and decisive, unnerved and undeterred, the do-anything version of Russell Wilson you immediately adored when he arrived in Seattle a decade ago.
He doesn't run as much these days, at 33 years old, but he saw the end zone early in the fourth quarter, saw the oncoming hit from Arizona safety Budda Baker and lowered his shoulder near the goal line.
"I just took off," he said.
He dived in for a touchdown at the end of a 5-yard run, and his celebration was as animated as he's been after any play all season. He held the football high in his left hand, fist-pumped with his right and hugged teammates around him.
"We needed this win," he explained later.
The touchdown gave the Seahawks the lead for good in their 38-30 upset of the playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals, closing out a disappointing season for a team that, at 7-10, can only start thinking of the future.
A topic Wilson was pressed about again after the game.
He has been asked about his muddled future every time he has stepped in front of a microphone in recent weeks. And, naturally, he was asked again Sunday evening if that future involved him playing for the Seahawks.
The star QB, once again, flashed his old form, eluding and evading, weaving and dodging.
"You guys keep asking me the same question," he said. "Maybe you guys know something I don't know."
He smiled and offered a light chuckle, and then continued.
"I think the biggest thing is, is that, man, I love playing here. I love the city, I love being here and everything else," he said. "You know, I also love winning too. And we also got to do whatever it takes to make sure that we're doing that. I think that's the standard, and that's what I believe in. I've got to do my part; it starts with me first, and then the rest of the guys and all of us together collectively, what we can do better. But yeah, man, I think that obviously I love the city and that's my hope and prayer."
Wilson went public with his discontent about aspects of the organization early last offseason, and the continued questions about his future are fair because he hasn't stated definitively that he wants to be back for an 11th season with the Seahawks.
He might not have a choice. He's under contract for two more seasons, and the Seahawks have shown no indication they would want to trade him (an NFL Network report early Sunday suggested the team has no plans to do so).
Pete Carroll, with similar uncertainty swirling about his status, did not hesitate after Sunday's game when he was asked if he thought he would be back for a 13th season in 2022. Carroll actually cut off a reporter's question before it was even completed.
"Do you have any question in your mind about whether you're going to be part of the.."
"No," Carroll said. "I'm in great shape."
The version of the Seahawks offense on display Sunday looked capable of pushing for a return to the postseason, if the main cast of characters are all back next season. If ...
Wilson says he plans to meet with Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
"Maybe I'll fly to Hawaii and sit down with Pete (on vacation)," Wilson said with a grin. "Maybe I'll catch the flight with them."
In November, Carroll said his relationship with Wilson was "the best it's ever been, by far" because of all the deep discussion they had last offseason, after Wilson's agent pseudo trade request.
"Pete and I obviously have a great relationship," Wilson said Sunday evening, "so I'll definitely talk to him and John all that stuff too. We'll chop it up and have some good times."
Does he feel like he's on the same page with the coach and the GM?
"We've always been on the same page, and that same page is to do whatever it takes to win," Wilson said.
Outside of two ugly turnovers which led quickly to two Arizona touchdowns Wilson was as good Sunday as he's been all season. He threw three touchdown passes (and would've had a fourth, if not for a straight drop by Gerald Everett in the end zone) and had his first rushing touchdown since Week Four.
The Seahawks closed out the season winning four of their last six games, and there's has been enough productivity on offense to believe it could be primed for a breakthrough in 2022.
If the main cast of characters are all back, that is.
The question remains: Is that what Wilson wants?