Posted Wed Sep 10th by Monty
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]