Apparently, news travels quickly from Madison to Raleigh.
Not long after Wolfpacker-turned-Badger-turned-Seahawk Russell Wilson delivered the commencement speech at the University of Wisconsin on Saturday, NC State fans 1,000 miles away were quick to point out that some of the inspirational stories he shared were little more than tall tales.
At one point during the speech, while oddly imitating Ohio native Tom O’Brien with a southern accent, Wilson recalled a phone conversation he had with the former Wolfpack coach in the spring before his senior year. The story, as Wilson told it, goes like this:
“I called my football coach at NC State and said, ‘Hey, coach. I’d like to come back for my senior year.’ He told me I wasn’t coming back. He said, ‘Listen, son. You’re never going to play in the National Football League. You’re too small. There’s no chance. You’ve got no shot. Give it up.’ Of course, I’m on this side of the phone saying, ‘So you’re telling me I’m not coming back to NC State? I won’t see the field?’ He said, ‘No, son. You won’t see the field.’”
Not only has Wilson never shared those particular details in the past, but it’s hardly believable that O’Brien’s decision to let him go would have anything to do with Wilson’s NFL future.
On Sunday, one of the quarterback’s former NC State teammates didn’t hold back in calling Wilson out on Facebook. Kalani Heppe, whose career as an offensive lineman with the Pack ended three years before Wilson’s conversation with O’Brien, had quite a bit to say about his feelings toward Wilson.
WARNING: Some language NSFW
— Bronce the 4th (@bronceIV) May 16, 2016
Heppe has since deleted the post, but it’s clear that Wilson’s speech irked some of his old teammates back in Raleigh. Even after transferring from NC State to Wisconsin in 2011, Wilson’s relationship with Wolfpack Nation stayed mostly positive. After this weekend, though, that relationship seems a little more bitter and a little less sweet.