Dolphins seventh-round safety Jimmy Wilson was not your average draft pick. He started college in 2004, but spent three years away from the game after being arrested for the death of his aunt’s boyfriend.
More than two years in jail and two murder trials later, Wilson was acquitted. He was granted an extra year of eligibility to play football by the NCAA and returned for his final year at Montana in 2010.
The incident which led to Wilson’s time away from the game was in dispute for years. His aunt said her boyfriend was beating her and urinated on her when she called for help. Wilson said he arrived and was acting in self-defense during a fight and a gun went off accidentally. Authorities disagreed.
It didn’t help Wilson’s case that he fled the scene from Montana to California after the incident happened before turning himself in days later. He couldn’t afford bail and waited in prison for 25 months, according to the New York Times.
“Some things have happened in my life that nobody is ever going to be able to say happened to them,” Wilson told the Times. (We recommend reading their entire fascinating story on Wilson.)
The Dolphins were comfortable with Wilson once they got to know him.
“[We] did a ton of research on Jimmy,” G.M. Jeff Ireland said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I talked to the assistant chancellor there [at Montana], I talked to the [athletic director], I talked to the head coach. . . . Talking to some people that were associated with the whole investigation, I felt very comfortable with the decision.”
Your view on the matter may depend on a few factors: 1) Your view on the American judicial system. 2) Whether people deserve a second chance. 3) The team you root for.
We don’t think Wilson’s life should end the moment his aunt’s boyfriend’s life ended.
“I prayed for this day every single night,” Wilson said after getting taken by Miami No. 235 overall on Saturday afternoon.