RENTON, Wash. -- Since the beginning of the 2012 season, only seven teams have had the same starting quarterback for every game. One of them is the Seahawks.
When Russell Wilson takes the field Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, it will be his 64th consecutive start. Not only has he never missed a game, Wilson has never missed a practice or been listed on the injury report. He's run for 2,417 yards since the start of 2012 (second to Cam Newton) and been sacked 163 times (second to Ryan Tannehill), but none of the hits have been enough to sideline Wilson.
"Best thing to do is always be available," Wilson said. "I think that obviously, to not miss practices, to be out there on game day, that’s what I’m here for. Ultimately, whatever it takes. That’s kind of the mentality. Try to take care of your mind, body as much as possible throughout the week, get ready to go."
Wilson has shared some of his training habits and recovery methods in the past. For example, he spends 10 hours a week getting massages.
On Thursday, Wilson revealed another part of the regimen: swimming. This week, Wilson started out with a swim in the morning on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
"I love being in the water, in the pool," he said. "I think that helps a lot getting your body back. That’s a big thing for me.
"I swim laps when I can. I swim pretty good. I’m not a phenomenal swimmer or anything like that. I’m not Michael Phelps out there. But for me, I definitely swim laps. I’ll swim probably 30 if I can, if I have the opportunity to swim in a big enough pool."
Wilson said he takes a week or two off from training in the offseason. He credited his former teammate Leon Washington with stressing the importance of durability to him when he first got in the league and also mentioned his baseball background. Wilson is used to being active year-round.
When he was training for the combine before the 2012 draft, Wilson ran into former quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who advised him to hit the weight room on Mondays after games.
"He played in the league for 21 years or whatever it was, and I used to ask him what he used to do," Wilson said. "He was a big believer in lifting and moving and making sure you ran after the game and stuff like that. So a guy who played 21 years, I believe in that."
There's always some luck involved, but Wilson is one of the smartest quarterbacks in the game when it comes to avoiding big hits. He knows when to slide and when to go out of bounds. And Wilson's toughness flies under the radar. When he does get hit, he bounces back up and gets ready for the next snap. His durability has been a key to the Seahawks' run of success.
"The durability is something that I think sometimes you’re just blessed with or you’re pretty lucky," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "Russell’s done a great job of protecting himself in the situations he can. He’s a very smart, savvy player. He has great awareness on the field. He sees the field very well, knows the decision he needs to make, as we all know, to get out of bounds, get down, make smart decisions.
"There’s sometimes that extra little that you need. He might have to go for it in a game situation that’s critical. He knows when to do that as well. It’s really a special player to be able to do those things."