Homecoming for Wilson, Birthday for Jackson
Raider owner Al Davis does not tell the future, and neither do quarterback Marc Wilson or rookie running back Bo Jackson.
So the Seattle Seahawks can only hope Wilson and Jackson won’t be back next season to kick them around anymore.
Indications have been that the Raiders would allow Wilson’s $1- million contract to expire after this season. He has been playing quarterback only by default after the Rusty Hilger experiment.
Jackson may choose to take up stamp collecting as his next hobby between baseball seasons.
“When the time comes I will give up the sport that I want to give up,” Jackson said. “It probably will be football.”
Wilson joked: “Maybe I’ll sign with the (Seattle) Mariners and play in Bellingham.”
That’s the Mariners’ farm club in the Class-A Northwest League. Wilson was a pitcher-outfielder in high school.
Whatever the future holds, the Seahawks will wear the brands that Wilson and Jackson put on them in Monday night’s 37-14 whipping for a while.
Wilson and Jackson, with help from the same supporting cast that launched a seven-game losing streak without them, propped up a measure of self-respect for a club that is accustomed to having more than that to play for.
Jackson set a Raider rushing record of 221 yards in 18 carries and scored 3 touchdowns on runs of 91 and 2 yards and a 14-yard pass from Wilson. At the end of his sideline sprint--also a Raider record--he disappeared into a tunnel for a long time, leading to speculation that he was off to spring training with the Kansas City Royals, having little left to prove in the National Football League.
“I saw the defender had the angle on me, and I just threw my head back and ran for my life,” Jackson said. “Trying to stop after running 80 some yards (he shortchanged himself) in a 10-yard space, you can’t do it carrying 230 pounds.”
Wilson said: “He’s got such great strength, if he has to he can run people over. He’s a bona fide great, great player.”
Wilson completed 11 of 18 passes for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns, the first a picture-pretty 46-yard rainbow to James Lofton that got the Raiders going and the second a 14-yarder to Jackson in the second quarter. Wilson had no interceptions.
If Wilson’s numbers weren’t particularly impressive, his command of the offense was.
He and Jackson had other reasons for enjoying the victory.
“It was my birthday,” said Jackson, who turned 25 Monday, “and I had a great time.”
And if Wilson, 30, had only one bravura performance left to give the Raiders, he picked his time and place, before 62,802 in his hometown.
“I’m elated,” he said. “I think this is one of the most satisfying victories I’ve had in professional football. We’ve come up here so many times and were embarrassed so many times, it just feels good.
“My parents were here, my wife’s parents, my wife’s brothers and sisters, my brothers and sisters. It’s just a great feeling to play well in front of them.
“I was trying not to get too emotionally involved, because I’ve come up here in the past and been so excited to play and wanted to play so well that it’s kind of clouded my thinking. I’ve tried to force the ball and have thrown interceptions.
“So tonight I just tried to walk out there like I’d walk into my living room. Obviously, it’s fun for me to play here in front of my family and friends. It hasn’t been fun the last few years because we’ve been getting killed, and it’s such a great feeling to come up here and finally put together a game like we’re capable of putting together, especially under the circumstances.”
Some of Wilson’s old friends may not have recognized him right away. Considering recent reports emanating from the south, it could have been all those passes he was completing that threw them off--seven for eight at one point.
But when Wilson brought the Raiders to the Seahawks’ 13-yard line early in the second quarter, they finally realized that the tall, lean figure was the same skinny kid who once was a local three-sport superstar at Shorecrest High School.
Wow--what an ovation! Wilson didn’t even know they cared.
It was so loud that Wilson had to step back from center and appeal to referee Jerry Markbreit for quiet.
But if the bedlam had shaken the concrete roof of the Kingdome down on Wilson’s head, it would have been no worse than the abuse rained on him in the Coliseum over the years.
Calmly, he waited for the crowd to hush a little, then sent Jackson on a lonely pass route into the left corner of the end zone, where the Sehawks left him alone to catch Wilson’s lob that put the Raiders on top, 14-7, and sent them on their way to a rout.
Jackson has played in the Kingdome several times--for the Royals. Asked if he had hit any home runs there, he said: “A couple. But this is football. Let’s stick to that, OK?
“I expected to come up here, like they say, (to) the Temple of Doom. We expected a fight, and I have nothing to take away from the Seahawks because they are a class team. We had nothing to lose. We were playing tonight for our dignity, for Raider respect.”
Jackson had a big night, he said: “because of great blocking I had. Marcus (Allen) threw some great blocks.”
Wilson said: “Both of ‘em can block well, and Marcus has been so unselfish that’s really helped us. Most of the time it’s Marcus throwing the lead block.
“He could have made it difficult for everybody but he’s handled this situation so well, he’s been so gracious and such a team player that I think Marcus is to be highly complimented.
“I said last week that we had the potential to have a great offense. We have a lot of people that never played here before. We’re not that familiar with each other yet. If we have a chance to play with each other for a while . . . “
Jackson still resents it whenever someone reminds him that he once called pro football a “hobby,” as someone did again Monday night.
“Let me put it this way,” Jackson said. “You people blew that word out of proportion.
“I haven’t thought about it. Why should I? I’m having fun doing what I’m doing now.”
If Wilson has an off-season hobby, he doesn’t talk much about it. He slips quietly out of Los Angeles and returns with his wife and three children to Woodinville, a Seattle suburb near the Seahawks’ headquarters on Lake Washington.
“I just enjoy the area,” he said.
Especially Monday night.