As a rule, players don’t like being accused publicly of quitting by a teammate who didn’t play in the game.
Wilson would have given anything to be out there with his teammates, but doctors wouldn’t clear him to play because he scored so poorly on his concussion test last Thursday. He’s hopeful he will get that clearance this week against Rutgers, although there are no guarantees.
Over and above everything else, Wilson’s health is the most important part of this whole deal.
If we’ve learned anything about head injuries over the years, it’s simply that you don’t take any chances.
Yes, the Hogs need him back in the worst way. Without him, they might not be able to scratch out a winning season.
But when he returns, there can’t be any hint of concussion symptoms lingering.
It’s hard to say how all of Wilson’s teammates view him right now. I’d say most of them are smart enough to know that they need him, and I’d also say there’s also a faction on the team that’s still peeved about being called out by a guy who wasn’t there with them while they were getting their rear ends handed to them by the Crimson Tide.
Listen, Wilson’s heart was in the right place. Just like he said himself, he’s an Arkansas kid who cares deeply and simply can’t stomach seeing the Hogs getting embarrassed by anybody.
And what went down last Saturday in Fayetteville was without a doubt an embarrassing performance by the Hogs.
If Wilson has to light a fire under a few guys by questioning their manhood and throwing the dreaded “quit” reference out there, so be it.
In the game of football, there is no worse criticism than to be accused of quitting.
The delicate part here is: What happens if Wilson returns and the Hogs continue to struggle? Will his words from last Saturday inspire his teammates to keep fighting harder, or will they make it easier for his teammates to punt this season once and for all?
I do think Wilson is trying his best to be a leader and understands how fragile the situation is right now. But as we all know, it’s so difficult to lead effectively when you’re not playing.
That’s why the Hogs desperately need him back on the field.
Wilson is as invested as anybody on this team. He could have come out last year and been a high pick in the NFL draft. But he chose to stay, in large part, because he had unfinished business at Arkansas.
The Hogs’ bigger goals may be gone, but there’s still something called pride.
Wilson hasn’t lost his, and he’s not about to sit back and allow everybody else around him to lose theirs.
At least, not without a fight.