The evolving novel that is Chris Wilson’s football career, began yet another chapter Friday, when the 30-year-old linebacker learned he had made the Washington Redskins’ 53-man roster.
Wilson has endured going undrafted, playing in the Canadian Football League, changing positions, being released, spending an entire season away from the game and considering retirement, so Friday’s news was probably ever-so-sweeter for the Northwood product.
In short: Wilson’s work ethic to get where he is today shows that he is one loyal man — to himself and to the Redskins.
Wilson talked about that very topic during OTAs this season.
“Being able to come back is an opportunity that’s not taken lightly,” he said. “And it’s a lot of talented people who don’t get the opportunity so I’m definitely not going to take it for granted and you’ll see that in my performance.”
He walked the walk in the Redskins’ 30-17 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 25, stepping in with the starting defense with fellow linebackers Brian Orakpo and Rob Jackson nursing injuries.
On a 3rd and 16 from the Colts’ 9-yard line, Wilson broke through into the backfield, taking Indianapolis quarterback Chandler Harnish down two yards deep in the endzone for the safety — the team’s first since the 2007 season.
The play proved Wilson’s tale is one perhaps meant for a movie script.
He was originally signed by coach Joe Gibbs as an undrafted free agent out of the Canadian Football League in 2007. He earned his roster spot with the Redskins as a defensive end and special teams player before making the transition to outside linebacker in 2010.
But the Redskins released Wilson coming out of the lockout prior to the 2011 season, and he never really caught on with another team.
So he sat the entire 2011 season, at times wondering if he’d rather make the time away from football a permanent thing.
Wilson had other ventures keeping him busy: his wife opened a salon called Chiqe; he picked up the bass guitar when his son was born; and he worked on his foundation, which is a high school combine camp in his hometown of Flint, Mich.
But never far away from his mind was getting back on the football field.
“[I was] working out because I just knew I’d be back in the league,” Wilson said. “Too healthy, too talented, too much faith to think otherwise.”
Yes, and that loyalty to himself and the team paid off Friday.
“It means everything,” Wilson said. “I’ve always been a person that’s a loyal type of player, a player that believes in the system and the organization and wants to win.”
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