Just days after learning that he would be unable to play this season and was advised against ever playing football again, New York Giants running back David Wilson took the podium Wednesday to officially announce his retirement. The former first-rounder delivered a heart-wrenching goodbye to the New York Giants, his teammates and the game he loves, football.
“I’ll be looking at my teammates this year and forever, wishing them the best,” the 23-year-old Wilson said (via the New York Daily News). “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.”
His speech was an emotional yet inspiring moment for the 23-year-old athlete. He appeared very humbled, accepting that it was time to begin a new journey in his life.
Wilson’s decision was inevitable considering his health and he hinted as much after the news broke Monday on Instagram.
At age 8 I told my #Dad I wanted to play football in THE NFL at this point in my life I have done that. Even Blessed to be drafted in the 1st round. Broke and set RECORDS, scored Touchdowns, and all that follows. It's a great feeling to live a out dream. Unfortunately that has been paused but I am blessed that I am able to walk away from this game healthy and still able to be me with no restrictions pain or struggle and So all I ask is please don't be sorry or pity ME that's just one chapter life goes on and I'm glad I can live it. Once a Giant always a #Giant #pocketrocket
The press conference can be seen in its entirety here.
In two NFL seasons, Wilson amassed 504 yards over 115 carries (4.4 yards per carry) with five touchdowns. He was popularly projected to be a breakout player for the Giants last season, but his campaign was cut short just five games into the regular season.
He joined the Giants in 2012 as the 32nd overall selection in the NFL Draft. At Virginia Tech, he rushed for over 1,700 yards during his junior season and garnered ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors. Wilson, a decorated track star, possessed phenomenal speed and elusiveness which made him a lethal threat for the Giants during his rookie season on kick returns. He set a record as the first NFL player with 200 return yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game in a 52-27 win over the New Orleans Saints.
Here are some highlights from his rookie season and keep in mind, he spent a lot of time in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse after a Week 1 fumble: