Safety Adrian Wilson did something on Sunday in the Cardinals’ 38-10 win over the Lions that only five other players in the history of the NFL have done in their respective careers: record 25 sacks and 25 interceptions.
In the postgame press conference, the 33-year-old had a hard time holding back his emotions following a milestone day.
“I mean it’s just all the hard work that you put in, to see something like this happen, that’s big to me and to my teammates,” Wilson said. “I’m glad they were there to see it.”
Despite being a veteran captain on the Cardinals defense this season, Wilson has had to deal with a reduced role in recent weeks. Yet in the face of a demotion, Wilson hasn’t wavered in his leadership, even when standing on the sidelines.
“You know, I put a lot of stock into what I do and to play here and give everything that I have here,” said Wilson. “It feels good, and we won. So, a lot of the emotions that’s coming out now, just thinking through the hard times and being where we are at now.”
Before the 2012 season began, Wilson restructured his contract, because he felt it was important to remainwith the organization. The veteran safety has been with the team since they drafted him in the third round back in 2001, and he’s never been shy about wanting to finish his career in Arizona.
With his sack of Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford in the fourth quarter on Sunday, Wilson now has 25.5 sacks and 27 interceptions for his career and joins the elite 25-25 club. The other five players in that group include Ray Lewis, Ronde Barber, Rodney Harrison, William Thomas and Brian Dawkins.
“You know history is history…pretty soon somebody is going to break that,” said Wilson. “I’m just going to relish in it tonight with my teammates, and you know it means a lot. I wish I was able to put it into words but I can’t, I’m just too emotional right now.”
Wilson’s teammates did not hesitate to sing his praises for his leadership and his hard work, including defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. Dockett was drafted in 2004 and has been Wilson’s teammate through good times and through bad times over the past eight seasons.
“Adrian Wilson, that’s my brother, I love him,” Dockett said. “I’m so happy for him. I’m just very blessed to be a part of his career for the last eight years and to see a dominant guy just dominate so many games and face some adversity this year and still overcome it.”
Safety Rashad Johnson is one of the players that has filled in for Wilson on certain third down packages, since defensive coordinator Ray Horton opted to make some schematic changes following the Cardinals’ bye on November 11.
“For Adrian, just to break the record that he did, I’m tremendously happy for him,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, you know, he’s got a lot of ball left in him and he can get to 30 [interceptions] and 30 [sacks].”
This season, Wilson will have only two more cracks at adding to his interception and sack totals, as Arizona hosts the Chicago Bear next Sunday and then travels to San Francisco to close out the campaign against the 49ers.