Inspirational is a term that could be used as well. The hard-working rusher out of Virginia Tech played just two seasons before a debilitating neck injury forced him into retirement. But the 23-year-old put it all in perspective Wednesday.
“Don't think I'm sad," he said after twice fighting back tears. "There's no need to dwell on the negative, because if you do, then you feel sorry for yourself and you're not living. I'm still healthy. I'll still be able to do the things that I could always do, except play football.”
He certainly could play football. In 2012, he had a Giants rookie record 1,925 all-purpose yards. It was also the sixth-best mark in franchise history. He rushed for 2,662 yards at Virginia Tech, including 1,709 yards in 2011 when he was the featured back.
Wilson played in just five games last season, when he sustained a herniated disc in his neck during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles last October. Doctors discovered a spinal condition called diffused cervical stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal cord. A disc was removed and vertebrae fused in January. He was cleared to resume football activities earlier this year.
Then he reinjured his neck during practice on July 31.
“The doctors dealt with this injury before and I'm comfortable with their answer,” Wilson said of their recommendation to retire. “They told me that I would live a healthy life. I have a long life to live. I'm only 23 years old. I've been blessed. I lived my dream by playing in the NFL. I was drafted in the first round. I have guys here who support me in whatever I do.”
Wilson has not decided what to do in the next phase of his life. He said he's open to broadcasting and coaching, or maybe something else. He takes a healthy perspective into whatever endeavor he chooses.
“You have great players, some of them probably will end up in the Hall of Fame, and they support you,” Wilson said of the Giants. “That's such a great feeling.”
Times wire services and Internet reports contributed to this story.