Adrian Wilson: “All I ever wanted to do was matter”
TEMPE, Ariz. – Adrian Wilson arrived with the Arizona Cardinals in 2001. The year prior, Arizona scored just 210 points and went 3-13. Their point differential that year was -233. Things were so bad for the franchise at that time, that the last time they had a winning season before Wilson got to town was 1998, when they went 9-7. Before then, their last winning season was 1984. They also went 9-7 that year.
When you’re so used to losing year after year after year, it breeds a loser’s mentality, because that’s all you’re accustomed to, and over time, that’s all you expect.
In comes the “alpha” male in Wilson at the turn of the millennium to shatter that mentality and breed a new one.
“I know it wasn’t easy over the years as an organization to continue and pound the rock to try to change the culture of the [Arizona] Cardinals,” Wilson said. “It took time and patience to develop a formula that worked, and I was more than willing to be a part of that.”
“My whole life, all I ever wanted to do was matter – to be a part of a change, to be a part of a centerpiece and to turn a team around,” Wilson said.
When Wilson first walked through the doors on April 22, 2001, he knew it was on him to grab the bull by the horns and completely flip that culture in a new direction. It didn’t happen overnight, but over time, the shift did occur.
Wilson and the Cardinals didn’t have a winning record until 2008 – their Super Bowl season – when they went 9-7.
“It didn’t matter win, lose or draw, I had a responsibility to that locker room and every single teammate,” Wilson said.
Wilson accomplished a lot and experienced a lot during his dozen years with the Cardinals. Money and fame come along with being a professional football player. Wilson never cared about all that. It was about him coming in and making a place better than it was before he got there. For that, he succeeded with flying colors.
“I think I was a little more determined than other guys,” Wilson said. “I don’t like coming into a situation where it’s left undone. If I’m going to be a part of something, I’m going to be a part of something all the way. I’m not going to be part of something halfway.”
“For me, it’s about turning something around,” Wilson said. “It’s about being important and meaning something to the franchise. I think that’s what motivated me more than anything.”
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