Ex-NFL running back who had to retire at 22 is trying to make the US Olympic team

Former New York Giants running back David Wilson, who suffered a career-ending neck injury in his second season and was forced to retire at just 22 years old, has dreams of representing the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Wilson will attempt to take a major step in reaching that goal when he makes his pro track debut in the triple jump at the Adidas Grand Prix on June 13. Wilson wrote on his Instagram account that even though he’s battling a hamstring injury, he still has his eyes set on competing: 

“Smooth but now time to hit the #track my first pro meet next weekend 13th #NewYork fresh off hamstring injury but last meet to make USA championships. Gotta suck it up and make the mark #realdrastic wish me blessing haven’t competed since #2010 on the track”

While fumbling problems and poor pass protection relegated Wilson to be primarily used as a return man and change-of-pace running back during his two-plus seasons in the league, he still managed to record electric plays showcasing his blazing track-like 4.29 40-yard dash speed, like this one:

He also loved to show off his athleticism during his back flip touchdown celebrations: 

Wilson will hope that athleticism can help him make a smooth transition back to track and field. Prior to his NFL career, Wilson was a two-sport athlete at Virginia Tech — competing in both football and in the men’s triple jump, where he placed sixth at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a best of nearly 16.2 meters (56 feet and 1.74 inches). That mark would have placed 10th at the 2012 US Olympic Trials.

“One level of competition has been taken away, but I’m not [just] a football player — I’m a competitor,” Wilson told ESPN following his retirement from the NFL last August. Track and field is something I can do at a high level. …Rio is on my mind everyday.”

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