INDIANAPOLIS — If Russell Wilson had listened to the doubters, he likely would have spent the summer riding a bus around North Carolina in baseball's low minor leagues.
But the 5-foot-11 second-year Seattle Seahawks star never has put much stock in his critics.
Supposedly too short to succeed at the NFL level, the quarterback who threw more touchdowns during his senior season at Wisconsin (33) than any Big Ten passer other than Drew Brees (39) lasted until the third round of the 2012 draft.
And even after Seattle finally took him off the board, he wasn't expected to start. Veteran backup Matt Flynn had been signed as a free agent from Green Bay ostensibly as an efficient game manager who could complement a rising defense and power running game and help the Seahawks reach the next level.
In the eyes of many scouts, Wilson would have been just as well off continuing to toil in the Colorado Rockies' organization and trying to work his way to the major leagues as a second baseman.
On Sunday, he'll arrive in Indianapolis as the leader of perhaps the NFL's most complete team and one of the rising faces of pro football's next generation.
"I've always been extremely, extremely confident in myself," Wilson said Wednesday during a conference call at the Colts' training facility. "I've never doubted myself or my abilities. I think the more experience you get, the more you understand situations. I think great quarterbacks are always great situational football players. I'm still trying to learn right now. I'm still in that constant quest for knowledge right now. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can through my experience."
He's proven to be a quick study.
Wilson won the starting job and completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 3,118 yards and tied Peyton Manning's rookie record with 26 touchdown tosses last season. He also threw just 10 interceptions and finished with a sparkling 100.0 quarterback rating.