Adrian Wilson never wavered in his desire to build a legacy with the Arizona Cardinals.
The veteran safety did that over 12 seasons, compiling a résumé that will one day land him in the team’s Ring of Honor. But Friday Wilson’s tenure came to an end in Arizona, with the team releasing the five-time Pro Bowler.
“All of us thank Adrian for what he has meant not only to our organization but also to this community,” Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “In every franchise, there is a select group of players whose contributions earn them iconic status and for us, Adrian Wilson will always be one of those players. He joined us at a key time in our organization’s evolution and helped lead us into a new era. We will always be grateful for that and look forward to the day when he’s placed in the Ring of Honor at University of Phoenix Stadium alongside the other all-time great Cardinals.”
The move did not come as a total surprise. Wilson’s playing time dropped significantly in the second half of the 2012 season and with the new coaching staff, a shift to a younger roster was expected.
For a player who had said multiple times he wanted to retire a Cardinal, however, it is a difficult separation and a reminder of the reality of NFL business.
“Whenever you are playing less than what you are accustomed to playing, and they’re playing younger guys,” Wilson said in December, “obviously that doesn’t bode well for an old-timer.”