At 9 o’clock this morning, Wilson was cleared for full participation in camp, the most significant milestone in his recovery from a neck injury he suffered last Oct. 6 vs. Philadelphia.
“That was the best news I’d gotten in a while,” Wilson said. “The doctor told me I’m good to go. He said to have a good season and stay healthy.”
On Jan. 16, Wilson underwent a fusion of the vertebrae to repair the herniated disc in his neck. He participated in some offseason drills, but was forced off the field when the offense worked against the defense. Now he said no limitations have been placed on his activity.
“I’m back to normal,” Wilson said. “I can play regular football with no special equipment, no medication, or anything else.”
Coach Tom Coughlin said the Giants will deploy Wilson carefully in camp. But Coughlin is clearly eager to see what Wilson can do.
“He’ll probably take the first kickoff back in Canton next week (in the Hall of Fame Game vs. Buffalo),” Coughlin joked. “That’s something he does extremely well, so it’s going to be a little bit difficult, but, quite frankly, he’s an amazing kid. I know we’re talking about a very, very serious injury, but about two weeks after he’s had the surgery he’s in the weight room and I have to slow him down. He’s over there doing stuff with his legs. ‘David, do you have any idea what just took place here?’ Hopefully, hopefully it will go this way as we bring him along. He wants to do everything now. He’s out there running back and forth like it’s nobody’s business.”
Wilson can bring a dynamic dimension to the Giants’ offense and special teams. The running back from Virginia Tech was the team’s first-round draft choice in 2012. As a rookie, he set a franchise record with 1,533 kickoff return yards. He also rushed for 358 yards. Last year, Wilson was limited to five games, 146 rushing yards and 222 kickoff return yards (on nine runbacks).
“I just want to get back into it and go out and have fun and enjoy the game,” Wilson said. “I think a lot of time guys forget to enjoy the game while they’re playing it. The only time you can enjoy it is when you’re playing well. You can prepare and do all the things you can to prepare and play well. That way you can have fun.
“(I have) no real concerns. I’m just excited, most definitely. I’m ready to get back out there and compete. I love competition so I haven’t been sitting on the couch. As I came out here and got started with training camp, I knew that my appointment was this day and training camp is the next day, so I prepared myself. Like I said, you want to be prepared to go out there and have fun.”
“The ankle feels great, 100 percent,” Manning said. “Don’t feel it and don’t think about it. So it’s not an issue. And I’m excited about being at another training camp and get the season kicked off. It’s an exciting time. It’s what you look forward to. Getting back to your work and playing football and practicing, getting back to your schedule in training camp. This is all what it’s about. Excited to be back in the mix and getting back to work.”
*Chris Snee’s retirement wasn’t the Giants’ only transaction on the first day of camp. Linebacker Jon Beason, who injured his foot in an organized team activity last month, has been declared physically unable to perform. Beason will not practice for the foreseeable future, which was expected. Wide receiver Kris Adams was waived after failing his physical. The Giants signed guard John Sullen.
Sullen, 6-5 and 331 pounds, was signed as a rookie free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals on April 30, 2013. He was waived on Aug. 31 and did not play last season.
>> FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT GUARD JOHN SULLEN
At Auburn University, Sullen played in 50 games. A reserve his first two seasons, Sullen started at right guard as a junior and left guard as a senior. In 2010, he was a sophomore reserve on the Auburn team that beat Oregon in the BCS Championship Game. Sullen is a native of Auburn, Ala.
*Coughlin said Brandon Mosley “will be out there first” at right guard, Snee’s old spot, in the opening practice tomorrow.
*Camp opened today with the traditional conditioning drill.
“We had a couple guys a pound or two overweight, but out of 90, that’s not bad,” Coughlin said. “We’ll melt those guys down pretty good fast so they can be as good as they can be. They did a good job. It’s not a killer conditioning run, it’s not intended to be.”
*Wide receiver Mario Manningham (knee), tackle Will Beatty (leg) and guard John Jerry (knee) will be limited in practice.
“Don’t ask me what that is,” Coughlin said. “I’ve never figured that one out, but they are limited.”
David Wilson Q/A
Q: Are they going to gradually ease you in or are they going to throw you in head first and let you do everything?
A: The doctor told me I’m good to go. He said to have a good season and stay healthy.
Q: You expected this, obviously, but still, like you said, the pictures are the pictures. When they said it, was it a great relief to you?
A: Like I said, I’ve just been waiting on their okay. I always felt fine and capable of doing my job and coming out here and competing with the other guys, but you want to come out here and be safe as well. You have a long life after football and football is something I love, so as long as I can play it, I want to play it. The doctors gave me the okay this morning and I’m excited for training camp to start.
Q: How do you see your role on this team now? They sort of prepared for life without you and now that you’re here, there’s extra bodies and extra competition there.
A: It’s just bonus bodies. Like I said, I’m excited to go out there and compete. We’re all going to compete and my role is as a team player: to go out there and push guys. I want to do the best I can do and they want to do the best they can do. We’re all going to be out here. We have guys striving toward being great or trying to be great and helping the team win. That’s when you get a team effort, when everybody is pushing everybody.
Q: Are you going to have to wear any special equipment to protect your neck going forward?
A: No, the doctor said that I was good to go. I’m back to normal. I can play regular football with no special equipment, no medication, or anything else.
Q: We’ve seen your videos. Obviously you’re in shape; you can do flips and everything else, but what are your benchmarks as you go through camp, things that you’re concerned about with the rust that you need to do to really get to being the player that you want to be?
A: I just want to get back into it and go out and have fun and enjoy the game. I think a lot of time guys forget to enjoy the game while they’re playing it. The only time you can enjoy it is when you’re playing well. You can prepare and do all the things you can to prepare and play well. That way you can have fun.
Q: Are you most concerned though about stamina, taking hits, your speed? What of the physical attributes worry you the most?
A: No real concerns. I’m just excited, most definitely. I’m ready to get back out there and compete. I love competition so I haven’t been sitting on the couch. As I came out here and got started with training camp, I knew that my appointment was this day and training camp is the next day, so I prepared myself. Like I said, you want to be prepared to go out there and have fun.
Q: Did you prepare yourself the other way, too, in case you weren’t going to get cleared?
A: No, I didn’t. I didn’t think negatively at all. Not for one second.
Q: Did you have any of those moments in the off-season where you wondered if you were going to be able to come back?
A: No, I like to stay positive about everything. That’s one thing about me. I try to enjoy everything I do and try to look for the positive sides. Even if it’s the worst thing, there’s a positive side to everything and if it’s wrong, you can make it right.
Q: Do you have any doubts that when the time comes that you need to lower your head and go hit somebody that you will be able to do it?
A: No. When you second-guess, that’s when you make mistakes. I just want to go out there and play full speed.
Q: Do you feel you have a lot to prove?
A: I think the fans really want to see me prosper this year, and my teammates as well. I’ve been waiting for that moment and I think it’s time. Like I said, I’ve been preparing. Coming off an injury, missing a lot of games, I’m definitely anxious to get out there and make plays and score a touchdown and be out there and have fun and win games with my team.
Q: How has this changed you in any way? Has this whole ordeal changed you in any particular way as a player or as a person?
A: No, not at all. It’s just made me more grateful and helped me realize even more… that I’m in a blessed position. Growing up, I wanted to play professional football and I’m here doing it. That was almost taken away at one point, but it wasn’t. That’s another way to show I’m blessed and it helped me realize that even more.