NFL Giants’ Wilson Will Get Most of Remaining Salary While Out

New York Giants running back David Wilson will receive 71 percent of the $2.3 million remaining on the final two years of his rookie contract without playing another down in the National Football League.

Wilson, 23, said today that a neck injury has ended his career after two seasons. He will be paid the full $998,000 of his 2014 salary while on injured reserve. Under the labor agreement between the NFL and its players, he also is eligible for half of his $1.3 million 2015 salary.

Wilson, who needs no additional surgery or therapy, said he’s thankful to be able to walk away from the game without added complications.

“I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me, or pity me,” Wilson said in a statement. “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 last week suffered what coach Tom Coughlin called a “burner,” a common football injury in which the nerves in the neck are damaged due to impact, causing pain and tingling through a player’s shoulder and arm.

That setback came after Wilson missed the final 11 games of last season with a herniated disk in his neck and underwent vertebrae fusion surgery in the offseason.

Wilson is still on his four-year rookie contract, which, according to his slotting at the No. 32 overall pick, probably included about $3.3 million in signing bonuses. Under the contract his salary grows each year, from $390,000 as a rookie to $1.3 million in 2015.

Article 45 of the NFL’s latest collective bargaining agreement, negotiated in 2011, says a player is eligible for injury protection benefit if an injury in one season prevents him from playing the following year. Under the benefit, players in 2015 can receive 50 percent of their salary, up to a maximum of $1.1 million.

Majority Remaining

That means Wilson is eligible for $650,000 in 2015. Coupled with this year’s full salary, he will be paid a majority of the money remaining on his current deal.

Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon declined in an e-mail to comment on the financial details of Wilson’s contract.

A team physician and an independent doctor both told Wilson he would risk more permanent injury should he play another game. Following his injury last week he had numbness in his hands and lower extremities, similar to the symptoms he felt after last year’s injury.

Wilson met today with team President John Mara, General Manager Jerry Reese and Coughlin to discuss his decision.

“David and I had a great talk,” Reese said. “He’s disappointed like all of us, but he’s a strong young man and understands that he has a lot of life left to live and it’s not worth to him, his family or us to put his health in harm’s way by continuing to play football.”

Wilson’s Statistics

The Giants selected Wilson in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft out of Virginia Tech, the first time since Ron Dayne in 2000 that the team had selected a running back with its first-round pick.

In his rookie season, Wilson had 71 carries for 358 yards and four scores. He also scored a touchdown as the team’s primary kick returner, and his 1,925 all-purpose yards were the sixth most in franchise history.

Wilson was limited to five games last season before the injury and was placed on injured reserve Nov. 7. In those five games he ran for 146 yards and one touchdown on 44 carries.

“Ever since I was 8 years old, I wanted to play in the NFL,” he said. “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.”

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