Adrian Wilson (@adrian_wilson24) is the longest tenured Arizona Cardinal and has made five straight Pro Bowls. He showed leadership this past offseason when he agreed to restructure his deal in order to create cap space. So far his decision is paying off as the Cardinals are 2-0. We got up with Adrian and talked about his family, this upcoming season and his favorite players.
You bounced back from your injury last year to have another Pro Bowl season. Tell us about that.
It was good, man. Obviously it wasn't all me. My teammates did a great job last year, just by staying the course. We started out really bad at 1-6 and won 7 of the last 9 games. Everybody kept the faith and kept believing that we could turn it around.
Yeah, you guys went 8-8 and could've took the NFC West, but no one saw the 49ers coming.
The 49ers are a great team, man. They believe in what they're doing and its a tough division. Even though a lot of skeptics don't agree, I believe the NFC West is tough. It's going to be even tougher this year.
How do you guys like your chances this year? You've started off on the right foot.
We have to keep improving every week. It always seems like people don't give us a chance to win. So, we go into every game like we're the underdogs and we have to keep that mentality. We have to make sure to learn from our mistakes and capitalize on the things that they give us. If you do those things we should be OK.
What was the highlight of your offseason?
I tried to keep it mellow and try to travel with my family. I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. I'm getting older, my kid is getting older, you know? My daughter is 10 now, so she's starting to ask questions. So, I just want to make sure I'm there to answer them.
Did you go on any exotic vacations with the fam?
We went over to Paris and Hawaii. Nothing too crazy. [Laughs.]
Sounds exotic to us. You restructured your deal during the offseason. What made you want to do that?
Well, part of it was that I didn't want to leave Arizona and go play for another team. I know myself and I knew I couldn't put my heart into playing for another team. I also wanted to restructure the deal because I didn't want to be a cap casualty in the future. I wanted to retire a Cardinal and I didn't want my cap number to be high enough where they had to make a decision on me down the road. I'll still be able to earn the money that I "so-called" gave away. It really wasn't a big deal to me like it was for everyone else.
You know how it is these days. Athletes get the stigma of being greedy, but you did that to help the team.
Yeah, you're going to make the money regardless. Whether you're a top player or not, you're not going to make this type of money [playing football] anywhere in America.
What are your thoughts on the referee lockout?
You know, I think it's a fine line when you start talking about what the referees are doing or what they're not doing. Those guys are in a position now where they're officiating games where everything is 10 times faster than what they're used to. There's an adjustment period for everybody. The players have to adjust to them and the refs have to adjust to the speed of the game. You have to give those guys the benefit of the doubt and just play the game and not worry about the refs. They're going to make mistakes, so you gotta just keep playing.
Let's switch gears a bit. What type of music are you listening to these days?
I'm going hard on that Kendrick Lamar right now. I think he's probably one of the top rappers out right now. What else? That new Nas was a classic and I got that Dedication 4 too. I mean, it's not as good as the Dedication 3, but it still goes.
What are your goals for this season?
Man, I just want to win. That's really the bottom line. I think if everybody has individual goals that's great because if you start reaching those goals it'll make the team better.
Are there any opponents that you look forward to playing?
You know, man, every game is a tough game and every game is different. You have to have a different mentality week in and week out. You can't celebrate too much when you win and you can't get too down when you lose. Every opportunity that you have to play this game and to play with the guys around you is a blessing.
A few days ago, it came out that LeBron James and Kevin Durant have been working out together and folks made a big deal about it. Do you work out with opponents during the offseason?
Yeah, I do. Me and Kam Chancellor work out. He plays for the Seattle Seahawks and he's another safety. I think that's very common for opponents to work out together. It's just a way to stay sharp and try to push yourself. People say that you're going to learn certain things from other people's games, but you know those things anyway with film study and all that. It's good to workout with other guys and pick their brains. We work out together to get each other better. Those guys [KD and LeBron] just finished playing in the Olympics together, it's really not a big deal.
Who were your five favorite NFL hitters growing up?
I liked Ronnie Lott because of everything he did. He played two different positions, cornerback and safety. I liked Rod Woodson too. I also liked Deion because of his flash. I know he wasn't a hitter, but I wasn't really into the hitters like that. I liked guys that had flash and made impact plays. My other two are Junior Seau and Ray Lewis. I liked Junior because of what he meant to the game, the emotion that he played with and what he brought to the linebacker position. And I think Ray Lewis is the epitome of what a professional athlete should be.
Still listening to Johnny Cash to get you pumped before games?
[Laughs.] You know I got a little Johnny Cash. There's always at least one Johnny Cash song in there.
For more on Adrian Wilson check out his website.