His father, Harrison Wilson III, tried out for the Chargers as a receiver during the 1980 season. Harrison Wilson III was one of the final cuts that year, as San Diego chose to keep four receivers because of the versatility of a talented tight end you might have heard of -- Kellen Winslow.
Harrison Wilson III graduated from Dartmouth, where he played football and basketball. He later attended law school at the University of Virginia, but after receiving his law degree, Wilson was invited to training camp with the Chargers in 1980.
There, he and Winslow were roommates. Winslow said the fleet-footed Wilson probably would have made the team as the fifth receiver, but the Chargers decided to keep four tight ends instead because of Winslow’s ability to line up on the perimeter.
“That’s his dad,” Winslow said in a story I wrote about Russell Wilson a few years ago. “He’s smart, organized and very athletic.”
Wilson’s father died three years ago after a long battle with diabetes.
Wilson looked forward to playing at Qualcomm Stadium during Seattle’s exhibition opener against San Diego last August because that’s where his father played. He once again addressed that experience during an interview with reporters in New York as part of the lead up for this year’s Super Bowl.
“He might have been 28, somewhere around there, 29 years old when he went to go play for the Chargers,” Wilson said. “I remember Kellen Winslow used to call him ‘The Professor’ because he used to have those big, old-school glasses. I just remember my dad talking about Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow and those guys, how talented they were and how much work they put in all the time, how their mind was never going to settle, no matter how good they were doing or how bad they were doing.
“The other thing that I learned from my dad is that you always have to persevere, have a great purpose in your life and understand where you're trying to go, have a great perspective. Those three things -- those three ‘Ps’ -- that he used to always tell me, were so real and they still stick with me today. It’s the same thing going throughout this week with all the talk. I’m as calm as I can be to be honest with you.”