Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson mourns loss of mental-conditioning coach, 'best friend' Trevor Moawad - ESPN

1 month ago 33

6:24 PM ET

Brady HendersonESPN

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson got emotional Thursday while remembering Trevor Moawad, a member of his inner circle who died this week from cancer at age 48.

Moawad was Wilson's longtime mental-conditioning coach, business partner and, in the quarterback's words, his best friend.

Asked about Moawad during his weekly news conference, Wilson paused, cleared his throat and prefaced his answer by telling reporters that the subject may be tough for him to talk about.

"When I think about my relationship with Trevor, I think about a man who was humble, I think about a man who always served, who always gave back, who was always dedicated to working and helping everyone," Wilson said. "And everybody he helped, it seemed that they always got better."

Wilson spoke for eight minutes straight about Moawad, first recalling when they met in 2012. Wilson was training ahead of the NFL Draft at IMG Academy, where Moawad was the director of performance, a role that included mental-conditioning work with prospective NFL players. He told Wilson then that the quarterback's mind was going to separate him. They began working together regularly after Wilson's pro day.

"From that moment, ever since, he's been my best friend," Wilson said of their initial meeting at IMG. "We spent so much time together through the highest, highest, highest of the highest moments to some of the lowest moments. To the moments of winning the Super Bowl, to the moment of not winning it, unfortunately. He's always been there for me. He's a guy who always gave me perspective and gave me knowledge and insight."

Wilson credits Moawad for helping him move past the Seahawks' stunning loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, which was decided when Malcolm Butler intercepted Wilson at the goal line. Wilson immediately left Seattle for his San Diego-area home, where Moawad moved in for about a month. At the dinner table, they talked about not letting that moment affect the rest of Wilson's career.

Wilson often cites the importance of "neutral thinking," a concept introduced to him by Moawad. He told ESPN in 2019 that his work with Moawad is "one of the most significant things that I do."

Moawad -- a native of Lakewood, Washington -- also worked for the Jacksonville Jaguars as well as several college programs, including Alabama, Georgia and Florida State.

He and Wilson were among the co-founders of a business coaching consultancy called Limitless Minds, which takes Moawad's teaching to the corporate world. The company tweeted a statement overnight saying Moawad had "quietly and courageously batted cancer with grace and strength" for the past two years.

"He hid it in the sense that he just didn't want to affect other people," Wilson said. "He didn't want to make people feel bad for him or sorry for him, and I told him, 'Trevor, man, people love you.'"

Wilson recalled a few of the things Moawad would regularly tell him, including an oft-repeated phrase: "The best is ahead."

Wilson's voice became slightly unsteady as he ended his news conference with words of appreciation for Moawad: "Last thing I'll say is that, Trev, I thank you. I thank you. I wish I could talk to you again. But I'll see you again. See you again. The best is ahead."

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