New York Giants rookie running back David Wilson set some pretty lofty goals for himself in his first NFL season. In addition to rushing for over 100 yards in at least six games, the 2012 first-round pick was determined to have at least one play go for more than 20 yards in each game this year, and more importantly, to not lose a single fumble all season.
It took only eight minutes and two carries for Wilson's personal list of goals to crumble down around him.
After taking a toss from Eli Manning late in the first quarter, Wilson turned up field and got only two yards before being leveled by Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee. In the blink of an eye, his worst nightmare became a reality as the ball popped loose and was subsequently recovered by Cowboys safety Barry Church.
As Wilson headed to the bench, he was visibly emotional – television cameras picking up what some speculate were tears under his eyes. He was later seen being consoled by teammates Osi Umenyiora and Hakeem Nicks. The rookie would not return to the game offensively, and finished the day with only four yards on two carries.
“It’s hard to put it behind you if that’s the last play you can remember,” said Wilson after the game. “But I understand the coaches. I know I don’t have much room for error being a rookie and then to have a critical error like that, like a turnover. You live and you learn and move forward.”
Wilson would remain in the game returning kicks, but failing to secure another carry led to him having to scratch two potential goals off of his to-do list: at least one offensive play of 20+ yards per game and not losing a fumble all season.
“He’s a rookie. Everybody makes mistakes. We all make mistakes,” Umenyiora said of his teammate. “He just made one and he’s a helluva football player, a very talented back. He’s going to respond. I just needed to let him know that no one was disappointed in him. We’ve all made those mistakes before and he’s going to step up and help this team win.”
Whether or not Wilson shed a tear remains up for debate, but those that are being overly critical of it need to look at it from another perspective. Suppose he fumbled the ball and then was seen on the bench laughing and joking around. That would be a legitimate cause for concern. Caring about the game and your team is not a negative in the NFL. Being emotional and craving success is not a bad thing. In fact, more athletes need to have the same passion Wilson has.
Wilson vowed to go out and practice hard this week, and hopefully he'll have the opportunity to redeem himself next Sunday when Big Blue takes on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Photo Credit: Mike Gannon
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