The New York Giants had braced themselves for the reality that running back David Wilson may have sustained a career-ending neck injury. Accordingly, when that news finally came, they were somewhat prepared. But no matter how much a certain bit of bad news is expected, actually hearing it brings emotions to an entirely different level. Such was the case for head coach Tom Coughlin.
Prepared for a gut-wrenching meeting with his young running back, Coughlin was overwhelmingly surprised when Wilson took the devastating news with a smile, citing his faith as a reason to believe he was meant for something different … something more.
In the end, Coughlin said, David Wilson taught him a little something. And it was a message he wanted to relay to his team.
"We started our meeting off talking about David Wilson. I relayed to them how he came into my office and his attitude and the way he was going to approach this. The fact that he didn’t want pity, didn’t want anybody feeling sorry for him," Coughlin said on Tuesday. "I thought that was a key and the way he left the office talking about ‘Once a Giants, always a Giant,’ really helped me. He helped me. David Wilson walked into my office and helped me understand and accept the fact that he was not going to be able to play any more.
"I tried to relay all of that to our team. They were very concerned. They are very aware. They knew after the injury last week, as we all did, that there was always the possibility that when you have a neck that there could be an issue here going forward. That’s what we tried to do, make the team aware and I think they are. I think they feel better about that. Knowing that David has — I don’t know what he does behind closed doors, don’t get me wrong, but he certainly is tough enough mentally to present a guy that’s at peace."
Wilson's positive attitude and equally positive outlook was therapeutic for Coughlin and the Giants. And although everyone asked said they would miss him and his smile, all found at least some solace in the fact that Wilson wasn't emotionally battered from the situation and that he had already begun to look ahead.
"I think it’s a great example. You don’t ever want to see it happen in that regard but there are a lot of things that happen in life that are unexpected that you do have to be prepared for. How to handle it was certainly demonstrated by David," Coughlin added.
Several Giants, including Eli Manning and Jameel McClain, related a bit to Wilson's situation on Tuesday, but it was clear in their voices and words that the reality of his career being over was still setting in. Meanwhile, other players like Rashad Jennings and Peyton Hillis expressed their love for Wilson and said he was very much going to be missed.
As a whole, the situation is a difficult one for the Giants to endure, but it's actually Wilson who's helping them to accept it and get through it. And with his career on the football field over, it's extremely impressive to watch him use a bad situation to help motivate and ease his teammates. It displays a maturity well beyond his years and proves his dedication to the franchise.
Once a Giant, Always a Giant.
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Tags: David Wilson, Eli Manning, Football, Jameel McClain, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Peyton Hillis, Rashad Jennings, Tom Coughlin