Running back David Wilson, a first-round choice only two years ago, has been forced to retire from football due to a recurring neck problem. At a Wednesday press conference, he said goodbye to the game with a flood of emotion.
“These are tears of joy, man,” Wilson said, via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. “Don’t for a second you all think that I’m pitying myself or sad, because I got to live my dream. . . .
“These are tears of joy because as I speak I realize how much people have helped me along the way. When you push the pause button you can look at all that. But I plan on pushing play real soon.”
When he presses play on his life, he won’t be playing football. But he’ll be paying attention to those who still do.
“I’ll be looking at my teammates this year and forever, wishing them the best,” Wilson said. “And every time I watch a Giants game or a football game and see people play that I actually had a chance to meet, I want to see them try to be great. Because it can be taken away. So when they go on the field I want to see them, every Sunday or Thursday or Monday, I want to see them guys be great, see them push themselves. . . . That’s where my joy will come from.”
Wilson’s comments underscore the reality that a football career can be very brief, and that players need to get the most out of football before football gets everything out of them. That includes getting the most money they can for putting their football careers and long-term health at risk on a consistent basis.