RENTON, Wash. -- Bill Withers' "Lovely Day" played softly through the speakers at the start of Seattle Seahawks practice Wednesday. The lyrics in the song's refrain were fitting, not just because of the postcard weather at the team's lakefront headquarters.
Left tackle Duane Brown was in the back of the stretch line, several rows behind quarterback Russell Wilson, having just returned to the field after holding in for all of training camp. Over on defense, safety Jamal Adams engaged in an animated conversation with his position coach while Quandre Diggs, back at practice himself after sitting out for two weeks, strapped on his helmet a few feet away.
The Seahawks' franchise quarterback, two Pro Bowl safeties and star left tackle were all there after some form and degree of discontent with the organization since the end of last season. All four will play in Sunday's opener against the Indianapolis Colts (1 p.m. ET Sunday, Fox). All four are happy.
At least happy enough -- for now.
Adams is the only one whose long-term future with the Seahawks is set in stone. That was secured when he signed his $70 million extension, ending a contract dispute that dragged into the third week of training camp. Brown and Diggs are scheduled to be free agents after this season, each having received adjustments to the final year of their deals but not the extensions they were seeking.
Wilson will be under contract for two more seasons beyond this one. He, coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider are in a much better place now than they were at the start of the offseason, when Wilson's public venting led to hurt feelings in the organization, a list of teams he would have accepted a trade to and a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter that the Seahawks received a strong offer from the Chicago Bears.
Make no mistake: The situation was real. And it could get real again if this season doesn't go according to plan.
The pieces are in place to prevent that from happening, though.
The Seahawks armed Wilson with a pair of new weapons in tight end Gerald Everett and receiver Dee Eskridge. Those two, plus Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and Chris Carson, provide a collection of skill players that's among the NFL's best. Wilson has his left tackle back in Brown and a new right guard in Gabe Jackson, both of whom are known as excellent pass protectors. He has an offense that excites him and a coordinator with whom he's in lock step.
Carroll has noticed "a little special juice" with Wilson because of his chemistry with Shane Waldron.
"They've worked together beautifully," Carroll said. "Those two guys have been able to make it happen so quickly. I can't wait for Russ to play and show you how it all fits together."
The system Waldron is installing places an increased emphasis on short and intermediate throws designed to get the ball out quickly. That should reduce the hits and sacks on Wilson, a motivation for voicing his frustration in February. And it should help them avoid the wall their offense hit late last season, when they didn't have the quick passing game to take what defenses were giving them.
The offense will also feature more fast tempo, which puts defenses on their heels and gives Wilson more freedom to call plays at the line of scrimmage. It's a style of play he's long favored and thrived in -- no quarterback has more game-winning drives than Wilson since he entered the NFL in 2012 -- and it's been a staple of Sean McVay's offenses with the division-rival Los Angeles Rams.
That was among the reasons why Wilson strongly endorsed Waldron, a McVay disciple, when the Seahawks searched for a new coordinator.
"He's a wizard," Wilson said of Waldron. "He really understands what he wants to get to. I think he has a great opportunity to be special coaching this game for a long time."
But what if Waldron stumbles as a first-time playcaller and coordinator the way his veteran predecessor, Brian Schottenheimer, did over the second half of last season? What if Wilson's pass-protection doesn't improve? What if Carroll eventually tightens the reins the way he did late last year and reverts back to a ball-control approach with more Carson running and less Wilson cooking?
And what if the Seahawks fall short of the NFC Championship Game like they have in their five trips to the playoffs since they nearly repeated as world champs?
It isn't hard to imagine Wilson and the Seahawks returning to the Super Bowl. If they don't, it isn't hard to imagine them returning to the crossroads where they stood after last season.
Safe to say there's a lot riding on 2021.
Those who know Wilson note his ability to compartmentalize. It's what he did in college at NC State, where he played two sports and graduated early, all while making regular trips home to see his ailing father. It's what he's done as a pro while somehow juggling all of his off-the-field hats -- family man, businessman, philanthropist, jetsetter -- with the maniacal preparation that has made him an elite quarterback.
And it's what he's doing now.
Wilson has filed away his frustrations with a plan to revisit the situation after the season. Until then, he's got his head down with his typical laser focus.
"His focus and his attention to detail, it's incredible," Brown said. "He's very focused throughout the week. It's not just on Sundays. The work he puts into this thing, it's second to none ... When you see a guy like that working as hard as he does to be as successful as he is, you have to go along with that. You have to put in the work, you have to put in the time to be able to compete along with that. It's special."
The Seahawks survived their stormy offseason. Now we'll start to see how long the lovely days last.