Just a few days after former first-round pick David Wilson's NFL career came to a tragic end, I spoke to his track and field coach at Virginia Tech about a potential career shift for the dynamic running back.
"I'm not saying things because I'm in front of cameras -- when I'm by myself, this is what I do and it's how I think," Wilson said Thursday, per ESPN.com. "When I say words like, 'When I go to the Olympics' and 'Olympics, Olympics,' these are big words and goals that I set for myself. But I know the hard work that goes behind getting to those points. And not by any means am I saying it's going to be easy. ... I know I'm going to have to wake up every day and that be my main focus, same way I did for football. That's how I got successful at that."
Seeing Wilson exit the NFL with so much potential was difficult. Anyone watching his time with the Giants could tell that Wilson was on the verge of something special before he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and a herniated disc. The symptoms returned during training camp last year after an emotional comeback attempt.
The team has been searching desperately for that versatile change-of-pace running back ever since.
At the least, he can compete again. Coaches around track and field love the idea of an established star who could bring some notoriety to the sport. Wilson himself would obviously like to remain in the limelight.
"I'm not saying the Olympics is going to be easy or smooth sailing," Wilson said. "But by saying it instead of 'Oh no, not me,' you know what? By saying it, it's possible to reach. It's no different than as a young kid saying, 'I want to play in the NFL one day.' I was 8 years old. And I still remember the day I said it.'"
There's a good chance this isn't the last we've heard from him.