The Arizona Cardinals suffered one of the more memorable losses of the 2012 season last week, as they fell to the Seattle Seahawks 58-0. It was difficult for an NFL veteran like Adrian Wilson, the longest tenured Cardinal, to fully process such a loss.
“When you have a game like that, emotionally, you’re going to be charged the rest of the week until you play another game,” says Wilson, who played at NC State in the late 90s and early 2000s. “It will make you question a lot. It will make you question if you want to play. ”
But Wilson and the Cardinals get another chance this Sunday. “That’s the great thing about football,” he says. “That’s why guys love to play it.”
The High Point, N.C., native has loved playing professional football the last 12 years. He left NC State and was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He was a starter by his third year, led the Cardinals in tackles in Super Bowl XLIII in 2008 and was named to his fifth Pro Bowl last season. Wilson chalks up his longevity to a little luck and care. “I’m truly blessed to have good health, and I take care of my body,” he says.
Wilson is also leaving his footprint off the field. The fashion bug bit him in 2007, and he opened High Point Shoes — a store dedicated to street wear and skate fashion — in Scottsdale, Ariz. He says his mother pushed the entrepreneurial spirit in him, but that it was scary opening a business, even for a 6-foot-3, 230-pound NFL strong safety.
“You have to find your identity,” he says. “You can’t be like any other store. I think when we first started, we were a street wear type of brand, and now it’s crossed over more into shoes and accessories. More cleaned up and buttoned down types of things.”
Wilson says a lot of NFL players understand the concept of transitioning to life outside of football. “But to actually have the guts to do it is another thing,” he says.
High Point shoes is now in its sixth year, and Wilson appreciates seeing customers come in and enjoy what he sells. He says the store has a family atmosphere, and that he likes that a community has been forged there. And that’s an aspect he’ll want to continue after football, when he plans to build a community center, as well.
“Sometimes people just come in and hang out,” he says. “It’s very gratifying.”