Russell Wilson’s return to Denver isn’t big enough for primetime

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Russell Wilson’s Steelers play Week 2 in Denver, the Broncos’ home opener. The game kicks off at 2:25 p.m.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo — The NFL schedule-makers evidently saw interest in Russell Wilson’s return to Denver.

His new team the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Denver Broncos in Week 2, the home opener at Empower Field at Mile High. Had it been scheduled later in the season, the less likely Wilson would have been the Steelers’ quarterback either because of injury or Justin Fields.

But then again, the Russ-return game was not placed in primetime. Kickoff for the game Sunday, Sept. 15 is at the usual 2:25 p.m. The league and networks seemed to be saying Wilson’s return to Denver, where his two years didn’t go so well, is not nearly as attractive as it was two years ago, when he and the Broncos opened the 2022 season on Monday Night Football with a game in Seattle, where his 10-year run was much more successful.

RELATED: Here’s the 2024 Denver Broncos schedule

“A couple years ago when we had Russell go back to Seattle and that was the opening Monday game on ESPN and it was the biggest Monday Night game in week 1 since the year 2000,” NFL executive Hans Schroeder said in a media conference call Thurday to explain the process of putting together the 2024 schedule. “So there’s something in that. We saw (Tom) Brady ultimately returned to New England (in 2021). There’s something about those reunions that we really like and as we’re creating the schedule we’re looking for those storylines.”


“I mentioned earlier in the opening (Broncos’ head coach) Sean Payton back to New Orleans,” Schroeder said. “We love getting that on the Thursday Night schedule (Oct. 17, week 7). So if we can have a schedule that comes together, we love games that feature that but we’re not going to solve for it.

“Yes, the Kirk Cousins game back to Minnesota is a similar one to Russell, it’s not going to a national window.”

Cousins, now with the Atlanta Falcons, returns to Minnesota for a week 14 game, Dec. 8 that has a noon local time kickoff.

“We still think that’s a great story,” Schroeder said. “We still think it’s a great opportunity for our partner (Fox) to really make a fun storyline there with a lot of interest and if it fits the right schedule we love it. But it’s not something where we force it and solve for.”    


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Russell Wilson’s return to Denver isn’t big enough for primetime

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