Apr 19, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws out a ceremonial first pitch before the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Boston Red Sox at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

You’re unlikely to find a former player in the media who is more outspoken about the Denver Broncos than Mark Schlereth.

Never one to bite his tongue, he bid adieu to Jerry Jeudy when the Broncos recently traded the oft-struggling wide receiver to the Cleveland Browns. And he’s been quite forthright about calling it as he sees it, candidly describing Denver as being “garbage” for the past eight years. A once crown jewel of the NFL is no more, and part of that is because of Russell Wilson’s play over the past two seasons.

Wilson figures to be the starting quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2024. After a tumultuous tenure in Denver, the Broncos elected to part ways with the Super Bowl-winning quarterback. That opened the door to new possibilities, and now Wilson is the next face of Steelers Country.

As Pittsburgh rides it out with a new quarterback, Wilson and his peculiar personality have tried—or attempted—to immerse himself fully into his new town. The first key to that seems to be throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game. Kirk Cousins accomplished that over the weekend, and so did Wilson, as he threw out the first pitch at the Pittsburgh Pirates game on Friday.

Wilson threw a perfect strike to Pirates left-handed reliever José Hernández.

Schlereth didn’t see this until Monday, or perhaps he was loading up a joke in the chamber over the weekend, but he took a not-so-subtle shot at Wilson’s pocket presence while making a tongue-in-cheek remark about his first pitch.

“I’m pleasantly surprised he didn’t pull the ball and scramble for a strike!” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).


We’ve seen this before with Wilson’s tendency to bail out of clean pockets by holding onto the ball too long. This became a major issue in Denver and likely contributed to his departure. If Schlereth was critical, imagine how frustrated Sean Payton must’ve been.

Now, as Wilson attempts to win over Pittsburgh with a first pitch, Schlereth skewers even this seemingly innocuous act. It remains to be seen if Wilson can overcome his on-field struggles and the media scrutiny that follows him or if this Pittsburgh chapter will be another short story in a turbulent post-Seattle career.

[Mark Schlereth on X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.