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Wilson Wants to Put 2010 Behind Him

Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson has heard the whispers that he’s lost a step, and is eager to silence his critics, writes Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic.

“I had a down season last year. I know that,” Wilson said. “But there has been so much written and so much said about how I should retire, how I’m not the player I was. The respect level just isn’t there. The work I’ve put in has been written off as if I haven’t done anything.”

Wilson totaled 88 tackles with two quarterback sacks and interceptions in 16 games last season. After the season, Wilson underwent surgery to repair a torn abductor muscle, an injury that he played with for much of the season.

“In the past, when this team has been 4-12, 5-11 or 6-10, it’s been easy for players to go on (IR), to chalk it up, to call it a season,” Wilson said. “That’s just not me. I’m not going to pack it in. I have to set the example. So I learned to play hurt, to grind with the guys. I gave it all I had even though we played poorly.

“I’m living with the consequences now, with people saying I’ve lost a step. But I’m not going to blame anything on injuries, and I’d do it all over again. I’m a player.”

One of the highest-paid safeties in the game, Wilson’s base salary decreases from $6 million in 2010 to $3.5 million in 2011, though the 31-year-old is due a $3 million roster bonus if he’s on the roster on the first day of the 2011 league year.

In 150 career games since being chosen in the third-round of the 2001 NFL Draft out of North Carolina State, Wilson has 774 tackles, 22.5 quarterback sacks and 25 interceptions, two of which he’s returned for touchdowns.

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