Pro Bowl safety. You Tube legend. And now, an Arizona Cardinal through 2013.
Adrian Wilson, Arizona's longest tenured player and one of the top safeties in the NFL, signed a 5-year, $37 million extension Thursday with $15.5 million guaranteed to remain a part of the Cardinals' NFC championship core.
A 2001 third round pick from North Carolina State, Wilson has been one of Arizona's most consistent defensive players. A hard-hitter with a nose for the ball, "A-Dub" suffered through several of the Cards' difficult seasons, three coaches, and now, a Super Bowl loss.
"As a team, we worked so hard to get where we were last year, and to not be able to finish it, I think makes us that much hungrier to get back to where we were and to finish the deal," Wilson said.
In 2005, Wilson set the NFL record for sacks by a defensive back with eight and became the only player in league history to return an interception and a fumble 100 yards for touchdowns in one season in 2006.
Arizona's defense has struggled without Wilson in the lineup, missing his run-stopping ability and presence at the line of scrimmage. This was evidenced by the Cardinals' 2007 season, when they were 27th in the league in scoring defense and Wilson missed seven games. But Wilson and the Big Red have stuck together and it is starting to pay dividends.
"Every time I step out on the field at the new stadium, I look at all the names that are up in the Hall of Fame, the Ring of Honor and all that, and I always say I want my number up there," Wilson said. "I want number beside Aeneas (Williams). I want my name up there next to Pat (Tillman). Those are things that I look for myself to do. I waned to stay with one team and make a legacy here, and that's something I have an opportunity to do."
The team will now focus on extending its franchise player, linebacker Karlos Dansby, and disgruntled wideout Anquan Boldin.