FLAGSTAFF, AZ - AUGUST 04: Safety Adrian Wilson #24 of the Arizona Cardinals leaves on a segway following the team training camp at Northern Arizona University on August 4, 2011 in Flagstaff, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
When it comes to Adrian Wilson, switching teams was never an option. After signing a new four year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, it became inherently clear that he is more concerned with defining his legacy.
Something that is almost never seen in today's society is someone staying at the same job for their whole career. On average, people hold somewhere around seven jobs in their lifetime. If a person works for 45 years, that comes out to an average of about one job change every six or so years.
Wilson recently signed a four year extension with the team, keeping him under contract through 2015 and likely, through retirement as well. By the time his newest pact expires, he will be 37 years old. Not many secondary players, regardless of the talent they once had, play beyond that age.
But if he does, the Cardinals and their fans would be lucky to have him.
He was selected in the third round in 2001 and has been nothing short of amazing for the Cards during his tenure. Whether he knows it or not, he has already solidified his legacy with the team. His hopes are to one day make it into the Cardinals Ring of Honor, but even if he retired today, he would probably be finding his name hung up in the rafters.
A-Dub has seen and been through the highs and lows of this Cardinals franchise. When he joined the team, the Cardinals were coming off of an abysmal 3-13 finish. Vince Tobin, the head coach of the team at the time, was looking for some game changers in the draft. He selected Leonard Davis and Kyle Vanden Bosch with his first two picks, two players that have since teamed up on the Detroit Lions. It's unlikely that Tobin knew he would be finding his true gem in the third round.
Wilson stuck with the Cardinals through many losing seasons, as they went a combined 32-64 until Ken Whisenhunt became the head coach in 2007. Once that happened, Wilson then got to experience one of the best times in the history of Cardinals football. The team made a miraculous playoff run only to find themselves losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in one of the best Super Bowls to ever be played.
Still, Wilson didn't hang his head.
He continued to help define the Cardinals through his play on the field and his leadership skills. If there was ever a player you wanted to hold his teammates accountable, Adrian Wilson would be the guy. Grabbing guys by the facemask, pushing them and yelling in their ears; nothing is out of the realm of possibility when it comes to A-Dub disciplining his fellow comrades.
Perhaps what he will be best remembered for is his hard hitting style of play. If you have been a Cardinals fan for some time, then you remember fully well the time Wilson almost ended Trent Edwards' career when the Buffalo Bills came to town. He is ferocious and some have even resorted to calling him a dirty player. The truth is, he just plays a physical sport with plenty of physicality. He is never afraid of the size of the guy he is going up against. Wilson knows he has a job to do.
In 2011, football analysts around the league were beginning to question the perennial Pro Bowler. Was he getting too old? Had he lost a step? Did he just not have 'it' anymore?
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
It was later discovered that Wilson had played the entire 2010 season with an abdominal injury, something that had hampered his playing ability throughout the season. Before his 2011 campaign even began, Wilson tore his biceps muscle during training camp. But none of that would slow him down, as he would still go on to play every game that season for HIS team.
Now, Wilson finds himself having been selected to five Pro Bowls, named an All-Pro three times and he is a member of the 20/20 club (20 career interceptions and 20 sacks).
All of this is well and good and standing alone, it makes him one of the better safeties to have ever played the game. Aside from winning a championship, Wilson really could not ask for more. His legacy is set in stone and his time as a member of the Arizona Cardinals will never be forgotten.
Signing him to a new four-year deal accomplishes all of this. Adrian Wilson will be an Arizona Cardinal for life.
That is what he wanted all along.