Kion Wilson spent the 2012 season selling insurance. The Carolina Panthers cut Kion Wilson just before the 2012 season got under way. Wilson received no other offers so sat out the season and to pay the bills took a job selling insurance.
What a difference a year makes. Kion Wilson is about to make his first NFL start as an inside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night on prime time national television.
Wilson has played for three teams in his brief NFL career. He originally signed with the Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of South Florida on April 26, 2010 . Wilson was released by the Chargers in September 2011. He was then picked up by Carolina later that year before being released in 2012. Wilson signed a Reserve/Future contract with the Steelers on January 7, 2012.
Kion Wilson went from long shot to make the team to living the dream in just a few weeks time.Wilson surprised many by making the 53 man roster and now with the season ending injury to Larry Foote finds himself ready to make his first ever NFL start.
Kion Wilson had this to say on the subject on Steelers.com …
Wilson :“It’s just football at the end of the day,” said Wilson. “We line up. We practice. It’s something I have been doing for years. I have to get out there, read, react and play.”
“I know I have to play to the level I am capable of,” said Wilson. “I still feel my best football is yet to come. I want to show the guys I am someone they can trust and not worry while we are out there on the field.”
“It’s still the childhood dream that is being achieved for me,” said Wilson. “All the emotions, excitement, but I know I have one mission to accomplish.
“I go in with the mindset of playing to the best of my ability. If I do what I know I can do to help the team it should go well.”
“Not many people are blessed to do what we do,” said Wilson. “Working two jobs to maintain is not fun. I know what it’s like to wake up and drive 80 miles a day not to get ahead, but just make ends meet. For me to back in this position I am truly embracing it and really excited to move forward.”
Kion Wilson is not the only long shot to make the team, inside linebacker Vince Williams was a sixth round draft pick out of Florida State but impressed coaches early on in rookie mini camp with his football smarts and ability to pick up the defensive playbook.
Williams continued to show football smarts and a hard-hitting style throughout the pre-season. Williams is now slated to see some real game action Monday night.
Here are some questions on both players answered by Steelers Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau from Steelers.com ….
Is Kion Wilson as bright in the defensive meeting rooms as he is with the media? He seems like a pretty sharp guy. And how much does that play into the fact that he might have an increased role, like making calls during the game?
LeBeau: “ I think our linebackers are very alert people. I think we probably have a little more depth there than we’ve had in some years. With Larry Foote going down, we are definitely going to need him. Again, they are just young players learning what to do. I think they’ve all made great progress to this point. They will probably get some playing time pretty damn quick. I am confident. I know they will play physical and play hard. We just have to coach them and get them in the right place.”
How ready is Vince Williams ?
LeBeau: “He’s ready. He will see some time. I’ve been pleased with those two young guys and the way they played throughout the preseason. I am sure that’s why Coach Tomlin kept them.”
Steeler Nation, Kion Wilson and Vince Williams were long shots to make the team and are now living the dream.