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Published on 09/10/2008 at Wed Sep 10 13:51.
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Former Denver Broncos five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Al Wilson announced his retirement Wednesday. Wilson, 31, who played his entire career in Denver, informed the NFL that he is giving up thoughts of coming back to the league.

“I thank all my fans from my high school and college days in Tennessee on into my time in the NFL and Denver for their continued love and support throughout the years. I was truly blessed to play the game I love and I am forever grateful to those that believed and entrusted in me. Playing for my fans and my teammates made the game of football everything to me.”

Wilson suffered a neck injury on December 3, 2006 that ultimately claimed his career. He played in all but one of the Broncos’ remaining games in 2006 as the 9-7 Broncos just missed the playoffs. Shortly into the 2007 offseason, the Broncos tried to trade Wilson, but a failed physical negated the trade with the Giants that would have netted the Broncos DE Justin Tuck.

Wilson tried to make a comeback in the 2008 offseason, visiting with the Lions and Browns but ultimately turning down a veteran minimum contract. Many fans, including myself, hoped the Broncos would look to solve their middle linebacker woes by bringing back Wilson this offseason. However, it was soon revealed that Wilson had filed a grievance against the Broncos involving his injury and playing-time in 2006.

If you read the report involving the grievance, it’s hard to imagine there’s “no hard feelings” between Wilson and the Broncos. Reports indicate the results of the grievance are still pending. The fans, on the other hand, have nothing but love for Wilson, and that love has always been reciprocated by the fan-favorite. His retirement comes as no surprise, and it’s another counter-example of how rare it is for NFL athletes to retire on their own terms. His injury-shortened career likely won’t be honored in Canton, but hopefully one day the Broncos and Wilson can look past the litigation and honor him in the team’s Ring of Fame, as I believe he deserves.

Al Wilson Officially Retired from the NFL [JockLife.com]

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  • http://www.broncotalk.net Josh Temple

    Nice quick reporting on this Kyle. At least Al retired as a Bronco in a quasi sort of way. I still haven’t found my favorite player on the team to replace him yet… Probably D.J.

  • Boisebroncoguy

    There is no doubt that Al was one of the best Broncos ever! It just killed me to see him lying on the field after his injury and not getting up. I will never forget the snow game against the raiders when he laid out Tyrone Wheatley. I wish you the best of everything Al, you deserve it!

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    Wilson

  • Boisebroncoguy

    SWEEEEEEETT!!!!!!!

  • http://mrherculesrockefeller.blogspot.com hercules rockefeller

    He should be a ring of famer, but the filing of the grievance, means he never will be.

  • Roy

    I am glad to see that he is moving on while he can still move. I think that a few more years of getting banged up would have been hell on his already torn up body. Nobody could justify putting him in the hall in front of guys like Gradishar and Jackson.

  • dbroncos

    I want to vote HOF too but i dont see it happening.

    Al Wilson was a great player and i dont think we will ever forever.

  • Riverscanbl&wme

    One of my favorite Broncos of all time and the most exciting tackler I have ever watched (too young to have watched L. Taylor). I loved your time in Denver Al and will miss the leadership and tenacity you brought to the game. A ring of famer and a class act all the way; you’re jersey hangs proudly in my home.

  • OC Bronco

    I’m pretty disappointed to find that things ended on a (more) sour note. I don’t see why he didn’t get signed by someone if he passed a physical and I can’t imagine how great it would have been to see him in a Broncos uniform this year. Oh well. I certainly wish him all the best and hope that he can mend fences with the organization. No doubt he is a class act all the way around and I hate to see classy guys like this leave our organization with animosity. A reminder of the big business side of football.

  • http://broncotalk.net Kyle

    Very well said, OC Bronco. The business side will take awhile to work itself out, but he did enough for the team and them for him to bury the hatchet in the end. If only the world was that perfect…

  • broncosmang

    The major disappointment that I’ve had through this whole situation was in the way our team handled Wilson. They let him put his life on the line for 3 games after the neck injury and then tried to throw him out like so much trash after it was obvious that he wouldn’t be the same player. I would have loved to somehow get Justin Tuck in a Broncos uni, but not for Al and not after our misdealings.

  • http://www.cnm.edu Brian Rougemont

    Al Wilson was my favorite player in broncos history, I have no words for the disapointment I have to see him retired. He played smashmouth football like a true blue and orange, and deserves nothing but the upmost respect. Not to mention now in 2008 the db defense sucks major wang.

  • broncofan15

    we could of had justin tuck?? man oh man that would be nice and if we got him and then we could sign d-end greg ellis and our starters for the ’09 defense would be:
    rde: tuck 91
    nt: fields 95
    lde: ellis 98
    rolb: ayers 56
    rilb: williams 55
    lilb:woodyard 59 or larsen 46
    lolb: elvis 92
    rcb: goodman 21
    lcb: champ 24
    fs: weapon x 20
    ss: hill 23