Titans pick up student, teacher in Wilson
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 12:00 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
In what has been a career full of transitions, Paducah, Ky., native George Wilson is going to have to be a student all over again.
Now, though, he also has the experience and credibility to be a teacher, too.
“That is certainly something the coaching staff mentioned when I came in,” Wilson said Friday afternoon, prior to the Tennessee Titans’ Caravan stop at Lake Road School. “They saw a need and I was available to come in and fill that need. That’s something I take great pride in. Just to come in and learn the Titans’ way of doing things is basically what my focus is right now.
“The guys in the locker room have welcomed me with open arms, and I’m just trying to build that credibility with the guys so that when I do speak, my words have merit and credibility.”
The caravan, sponsored by Academy Sports and Outdoors, made its fourth stop of the day in Martin. Wilson, a veteran safety acquired by the Titans via free agency, made this leg of the caravan with tight end Delanie Walker.
He took time before the scheduled stops to speak with The Press about his career, his arrival in Tennessee and his role with the team both on and off the field.
While he will provide some much-needed help on the defensive side of the ball, where the Titans struggled throughout their 6-10 season last year, he also brings leadership qualities to the locker room.
The eight-year pro was the Walter Payton Man of the Year recipient for the Buffalo Bills in 2009 and ’11 and was named Bills’ team captain in each of his final five seasons in Buffalo.
His new teammates have already made it a point to seek him out to talk about his career. Most are surprised, and then even more impressed, after finding out that his NFL career did not start on defense.
“A lot of guys have made comments to me and just shared their thoughts about my career,” Wilson said. “A lot of them were not aware that I started my career as a wide receiver and made the move to safety at this level, so that certainly gives me some respect. But, just to work with these guys day-in and day-out gives me even more of a rapport with them. They can understand that I’m here to do what’s needed to help us win more ballgames.”
Wilson is part of a defense in transition. The Titans picked five defensive players in the NFL Draft last week in addition to signing Wilson in the off-season.
“These first two weeks, there are clear expectations for this football team,” Wilson said. “We get that from the coaching staff, from Mike Munchak on down. We have two great defensive guys making calls in Jerry Gray and Gregg Williams. They give clear expectations of what every guy should be willing to do, and that’s being unselfish, being willing to do whatever’s necessary to win ballgames, and I certainly am. I’m ready to step up to the plate in any capacity.”
From the head coach to the assistants to the players — being a professional is what Wilson says the Titans’ organization is all about. He plans to learn from his new coaches and then help teach the team’s new players.
Wilson is a player who enjoys every aspect of the job.
“I like it all,” he said. “Like I tell people, we work Monday through Saturday. Sunday is game day. We do that for free. That’s what we love about it, and that’s what the fans get to see. You don’t always get to see all the hard work and labor that’s put into preparing to playing those games. I enjoy every part of it, from training camp to these off-season workouts to the preseason games because that’s where you build the rapport, that’s where you build the team chemistry and that’s certainly where you get some kind of idea of what kind of identity you’re going to have as a ballclub.”
Wilson did say that events like the caravan are especially pleasing for him, saying it give fans — children in particular — a chance to see the players up close while bringing the team’s and the league’s message to towns and cities throughout the region.
And, for Wilson, this region is home.
A graduate of Paducah Tilghman High School, where he was a four-sport standout, Wilson went to college at Arkansas and then spent his pro career to date in the extreme northeast of upstate New York.
Paducah, about three hours from Nashville via I-24, is Titans Country.
As a Southerner and former SEC player, Wilson knows how football-crazy this part of the nation is. Simply by signing with the Titans, he immediately become a favorite of a very passionate fan base.
“Being from the South and this area, you know the passion that comes with football and all sports,” Wilson said. “So there’s definitely a lot of team loyalty. In just the short time I’ve been with the Titans organization, I’ve started to get a sense of that love and passion Titans’ fans have for their football.”
The Titans will open the 2013 preseason at home on Aug. 8 against the Washington Redskins. That will be Wilson’s official homecoming as well as the first day of classes for the new student … and teacher.
Published in The WCP 5.7.13