New York Giants running back David Wilson has been told "he should no longer play football," the team announced Monday afternoon. That news leaked out earlier Monday, but the announcement appears to bring to an end the career of the 23-year-old running back, drafted in the first round by the Giants in 2012. Wilson will be placed on injured reserve for the 2014 season.
"I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me, or pity me," said Wilson. "I lived my dream. A lot of people only get to dream their dream. I lived that dream. Now I have a chance to dream another dream and live that, too."
Wilson was given the news Monday morning by Giants' team physician Dr. Russell Warren and by Dr. Frank Cammisa, shief of spine service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
"David has diffuse cervical stenosis. He had a disc removed and a fusion in January," Dr. Warren said in a statement released by the Giants. "In light of last week's episode of symptoms, sensory and motor, Frank and I both told David he should not play football any more. We let David know that by playing, he would be putting himself at risk for more episodes like last week or perhaps something more serious."
Wilson was forced to leave practice last Tuesday after suffering a burner, which caused numbness in his hands and lower extremities, symptoms he displayed when he suffered his original neck injury last October 6 against Philadelphia. Wilson underwent a battery of tests Tuesday night at HSS and was evaluated by Dr. Cammisa Monday morning.
"I'm thankful that I can literally walk away from the game and that I am healthy and capable of doing the same things I have done all my life, except play football," said Wilson. "I always try to find the positive in everything. This morning when I saw Dr. Cammisa and Dr. Warren, I didn't hear what I wanted to hear, but I expected that what they told me could be a possibility. I had played out both scenarios in my mind. I prayed this morning before I went to see them that they would tell me what God would tell me. He put His answer in them to relay to me."
Wilson stopped short of officially announcing his retirement, but certainly sounds like he has no intentions of trying to play again.
"Growing up, ever since I was eight years old, I wanted to play in the NFL," said Wilson. "It was my dream. And I can't say that I didn't live my dream, because I did. I played for the New York Giants. I was a first round draft choice of the New York Giants. I scored touchdowns. I caught touchdowns. I returned kicks for touchdowns and I set records. So I got to do some of the things I dreamed of doing all my life."
Wilson has 115 carries for 504 yards (4.4 yards per carry) in his career, with five touchdowns. As a rookie in 2012, Wilson accounted for 1,925 all-purpose yards, the sixth-highest total in team history, the most ever by a Giants rookie and the most for any Giant since Tiki Barber had 2,127 in 2006. His 1,533 kickoff return yards led the NFL and set a Giants record, breaking the former mark of 1,291 set by Domenik Hixon in 2009. Wilson's 26.9-yard kickoff return average was sixth in the NFL. He also rushed for 358 yards and four touchdowns and caught four passes for 34 yards and a score.
Wilson said he will not require any additional surgery.
[UPDATE 8:52 p.m. ET: Wilson has now been waived/injured and will be added to IR nce he clears waivers.]