Adrian Wilson’s goodbye and his Pat Tillman help

Posted by Darren Urban on April 20, 2015 – 5:21 pm

This is when you feel the legacy, on the day in which Adrian Wilson officially retires and when he talks about the guys who helped him when he got into the league, Pat Tillman comes up. It’s fitting this time of year, when the anniversary of Tillman’s death draws near. It’s easy to forget how important Tillman was to Wilson that one season they played together, in 2001.

“I didn’t know the first thing about the playbook,” Wilson said of his rookie season. “(Defensive coordinator) Larry Marmie’s playbook was so complicated, I couldn’t understand it. Pat sat me down for hours upon hours just going through the playbook just to go to practice the next day. It was that complicated for me. I owe big dividend to Pat.”

To think, Wilson was there to essentially replace Tillman.

(Wilson thanked other “old-time” Cardinals Corey Chavous, Kwamie Lassiter, Rob Fredrickson and Ron McKinnon for their help when he was starting out too.)

— When Wilson was released back in 2013, I covered a lot of the instant emotions and thoughts I had of his career in this post. But his retirement Monday brought some closure and, perhaps sooner rather than later, maybe bring Wilson back into the building on a consistent basis. He shrugged off his future right now, saying he wanted to “take my time on that.” He’s got four young kids. That’s his focus now, although there is little question GM Steve Keim likes having him in the mix. Team president Michael Bidwill noted that before the press conference, Wilson had his mock draft around, drawing a grin from Wilson.

“He’s made some improvements from his first mock that he showed me,” Keim said. “I think I sent him back to the film room.”

— Not only was Wilson’s family there, but his two buddies from North Carolina from when he was 10 years old, Adrian Mack and Anthony Johnson, were there Monday and it took me back to 2010 when Wilson invited me back to High Point to cover his high school retiring his jersey number and I was able to meet Mack and Johnson and do a big story on who Wilson really was as a person. Looking back on that article, through the prism of today, this quote stands out, about Wilson desperately wanting to leave a legacy.

“Nobody in my family has one and I’ll be the first,” Wilson said. “That’s something I think is more important to me than anything – leaving that right mark. I want to lay a foundation down where it doesn’t matter what generation you come from, you’ve got to respect what I did.”

— Bidwill will have Wilson go in the Ring of Honor, but that date is TBD. The schedule comes out tomorrow, and then the team must figure out what home games have which events, like Breast Cancer Awareness or Salute to Service, for example.

— Wilson admits he thinks about the Hall of Fame. I’ll have a separate post on that tomorrow, but it’s been tough sledding for safeties in Canton.

— There was a good group of former teammates on hand for Wilson today: Fitz, Patrick Peterson, Justin Bethel, Rashad Johnson, Calais Campbell, Bertrand Berry, Quentin Harris, Damien Anderson, Rolando Cantu. Peterson even took the mic during the press conference to deliver a statement in front of everyone. Wilson was an important part of this franchise. He still should be.


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17 Responses to “Adrian Wilson’s goodbye and his Pat Tillman help”

  1. By drstiegler on Apr 20, 2015 | Reply

    Hats off to you A-Dub! You will forever be my favorite Redbird.

  2. By William Barry on Apr 20, 2015 | Reply

    Adrian Wilson deserves to be in the HOF. He was a great player on and off the field.!!!!!!

  3. By Brett Colordo on Apr 20, 2015 | Reply

    Great career #24! You are the face of the franchise forever!! You will be missed thank you for all that you did.

  4. By JohnnyBluenose on Apr 20, 2015 | Reply

    There can never be too many Adrian Wilsons.

  5. By Mr Robles on Apr 20, 2015 | Reply

    Thanks Adrian for all your effort & dedication. Loyalty of them all. Your the reason my 2nd son is named Adrian cause of you Thank you for it all!

  6. By J. Lamborn on Apr 20, 2015 | Reply

    Most dependable Cardinal ever. It wouldn’t have to be a big play, just a really hard hit to remind everyone that the game wasn’t over, and 24 would never give up.

  7. By Dre on Apr 21, 2015 | Reply

    Great player played on a lot of bad teams but always brought his A game. Him and docket were my favorites the both will be missed .

  8. By D on Apr 21, 2015 | Reply

    He is one of the best AZ Cards since they moved to the Valley in 88. To me, he is up there with A. Williams, L. Centers, L. Fitzgerald, A. Wilson…Who completes the top AZ 5…..: J. Plummer, P. Tillman or D. Docket ?
    Tillman would win the straw vote.

  9. By BirdsSTC on Apr 21, 2015 | Reply

    #24, I never met you yet I feel like you are family. Thank you for everything you did for this franchise and this city. You’re still the only Cardinal jersey I own, and I probably won’t buy another one for a very long time. I will continue to rock the #24 at the UoP for many years to come.

  10. By Travis on Apr 21, 2015 | Reply

    Much love! I am sorry the way your playing career ended. Selfishly, I am glad I never had to witness you in another uni. My favorite part of household chores is dusting off that little autographed mini helmet. True Cardinal, true inspiration

  11. By T.Stone on Apr 21, 2015 | Reply

    Officially retired? Damn. Darren, That must mean the retirement of your weekly chats without the question of the chance of Adrian Wilson playing for the Cards again. Well, they were good while they lasted I guess.

  12. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 21, 2015 | Reply


    How much was the 30/30 club a driving force for him to try to keep playing?

    It’s funny, I thought he was a lock to get it and then he quickly declined and was out of football. 25.5 sacks and 27 ints. Heck of a career.

  13. By Darren Urban on Apr 21, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: 30/30

    I think it was more about just playing. At the end, he would’ve been a special teamer if that’s what it would have taken. He just loved to play the game.

  14. By davemaham on Apr 21, 2015 | Reply

    There will never be another Card like A-Dub.

    I’m hoping Bucannon will eventually play like him, but no one will be able to match his presence off the field and in the locker room.

  15. By jetstreamgreen81! on Apr 22, 2015 | Reply

    Congratulations on a great career and on getting in the Ring of Honor. You were my favorite Cardinal and really showed what it is to be a True Cardinal and bring the right mentality to this franchise. You will be missed. Can’t wait to see you become part of the coachin staff or team in whatever capacity it is. I hope Bucannon can become a part of your legacy @ safety. I will still wear my black #24 on game days.

  16. By Dave Chaney on Apr 22, 2015 | Reply

    Thanks Michael Bidwill for running this team like it should be run. In the past several years, you have proven over and over that you want the Cards to be remembered as winners, not the loser tag the team has had for so many years. Congratulations to you on another great move and a huge congrats to Adrian Wilson, one of the greatest Cardinal players of all time.

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