Picked in the third round of the 2001 draft by the Arizona Cardinals and hailing from North Carolina State, Wilson made an instant impact for the Cardinals. As a rookie and immediately named the starting safety, he has a career 894 tackles, 14 forced fumbles, 27 interceptions and 25.5 sacks in 12 seasons.
In his tenure at Arizona, 34 year-old Wilson was a star, making five trips to the Pro Bowl and playing in 181 games out of a possible 192. As the Cardinals made the playoffs in 2008 and 2009, Wilson played in all six postseason games and was part of the stellar Arizona defense that played in Super Bowl XLIII. During that Super Bowl run, Wilson accounted for 23 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles. In a close, low scoring Super Bowl game, the Cardinals eventually lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a score of 27-23.
Wilson signed a three-year, $5 million deal with the Patriots in March of 2013 after becoming a free agent and not re-signing with Arizona. His last season as a Cardinal in 2012, he posted 54 tackles, one forced fumble and one interception.
During training camp and preseason, Wilson was touted to be the guy who helps make the difference on the defensive side of the ball on a team with an offense that had been good enough in recent years to win another Super Bowl. Unfortunately for all parties involved, Wilson tore his Achilles tendon in the preseason finale and was placed on the injured reserve list. He ended up never returning to the field, and 13-year veteran did not play a snap in 2013 for the Patriots.
On Friday, the Patriots announced that Wison had been cut.
We've released safety Adrian Wilson: http://t.co/d88lsvq08S
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 4, 2014
Wilson responded on Twitter, thanking the Patriots for the opportunity.
Thankyou to the Patriots organization for the opportunity. I look forward to the future.
— Adrian Wilson (@adrian_wilson24) April 4, 2014
Releasing the 34-year-old Wilson gives the Patriots more than $1.16 million in cap savings. New England waited until now to release Wilson, giving him the chance to rehab and work out around the team throughout last season and serve as a veteran mentor for some of the younger defensive players.
Now what will happen to the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder veteran? Will Wilson be healthy enough to remain a physically imposing threat over the middle and eventually sign with another franchise? Turning 35-years-old this October may be an issue for some clubs, but hopefully teams can overlook his age and give him a chance to prove himself. Working hard in rehab during the entire 2013 season and being a mentor to the younger members of the Patriots' squad, Wilson deserves another chance.
It's extremely rare to come across a 13-year NFL veteran who knows the game inside and out. What is even more extraordinary is the fact that Wilson still wants to play, and has proved this notion by his continuous dedication to getting healthy. Any of the remaing 31 teams in the league would be fortunate to have a man like Wilson on their roster.
On Twitter: @alewnes7