RENTON, Wash. — Russell Wilson knew the question was coming and tried to lean into it with some levity on Thursday.
“I think somebody is missing a shoe somewhere,” the Seattle quarterback joked as he took to the lectern for his weekly press conference.
So why was Wilson making jokes about shoes?
San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was assessed an unsportsmanlike penalty in last Sunday’s game against the Seahawks for arguing with officials after Wilson tossed the lost shoe of linebacker Fred Warner to the side after a play. Seattle then went hurry-up offensively and the 49ers were caught offsides as Warner tried to exit the field and a replacement was late making the substitution.
“It wasn’t a smart thing by me and something I can’t do,” Shanahan told reporters Monday.
The shoe toss itself was seemingly not caught by either the FOX television broadcast of the game or the coach’s tape film made available to the public. Nevertheless, Wilson admitted to tossing the shoe between plays.
“Listen, I didn’t know whose shoe it was, first of all,” Wilson said. “Second of all, it was right in the middle of my play. It had to go. We were going no-huddle and it was like right where we were going to pretty much snap it. And I was like ‘anyone’s shoe?’ and was like all right, whatever. So I threw it.”
Warner lost his left shoe on the previous snap late in the third quarter as Seahawks left guard J.R. Sweezy stepped on the back of his heel while attempting to block him. The shoe came to rest of the 30-yard line directly on the left hash mark. The 5-yard run by Chris Carson on the play would have left the shoe 2 yards directly behind Wilson, who lined up under center at the 28-yard line, for Seattle’s next snap.
An overhead shot on the TV broadcast showed Warner having retrieved his shoe departing the field from at least as far back as the 38-yard line. He could not get the footwear back on in time for the next play and Elijah Lee attempted to replace him on the field, drawing the offsides penalty.
“I didn’t want to throw it forward because we were going that direction, obviously, toward the end zone. So I threw it back. I don’t know. I’ve never seen a shoe on the field like that in the middle of a play when I’m trying to go no-huddle,” Wilson said.
Shanahan began arguing with officials about the whole scenario and was flagged himself for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“That’s what I was trying to figure out, especially when another guy on the opposing team threw it,” Shanahan said Monday. “I’m not saying that (Wilson) did that maliciously or anything, who knows, but it was an unusual situation and it was my tipping point.”
Wilson said he could definitely understand why the opposing head coach would be upset about how the sequence played out.
“I understood why he did it. I wasn’t thinking about it in the midst of doing it,” Wilson said with a chuckle.
The Seahawks would score a touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter to finish the drive on an 18-yard pass from Wilson to receiver Jaron Brown. It was Wilson’s fourth touchdown pass of the game and second to Brown.
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