Stanley Wilson Jr., a defensive back who played three seasons for the Lions, has died at the age of 40.
Wilson died on February 1 at Metropolitan State Hospital in Los Angeles, according to TMZ.com. No cause of death has been released. Metropolitan State Hospital specializes in treatment for people with mental health issues.
After spending five years at Stanford, Wilson was selected by the Lions in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft. He showed promise during his three NFL seasons but suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2007, then suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during the 2008 preseason and never played again.
In retirement, Wilson had a long string of legal problems including several arrests and positive drug tests. In one incident he was shot by a homeowner while trying to break into a house. He had been in custody since an arrest in August when he was declared incompetent to stand trial.
Wilson’s father, Stanley Wilson Sr., also played in the NFL and also had a series of legal, mental health and drug problems. Wilson Sr. was a running back who was drafted by the Bengals in 1983 and showed flashes of impressive talent, but drugs derailed his NFL career. He was suspended for both the entire 1985 season and the entire 1987 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. In 1989, the night before Wilson’s Bengals were slated to play in the Super Bowl, he was found in his hotel room under the influence of cocaine, and he never played in the NFL again after that. In 1999 Wilson Sr. was sentenced to 22 years in prison for burglary, and his lawyer said during his trial that he suffered from bipolar disorder.