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The promising career of New York Giants running back David Wilson appears to be over before his third NFL season.
The Giants announced Monday that two doctors have advised Wilson, 23, to stop playing football due to the condition of his neck and spine. The Giants placed Wilson on injured reserve, which means he will not play for them this season.
According to a team news release, Wilson has come to terms with the fact his playing days are through.
"I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me or pity me," he said in the team's release. "I lived my dream. A lot of people only get to dream their dream. I lived that dream. Now I have a chance to dream another dream and live that, too."
Wilson injured his neck in a Week 5 game against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and missed the rest of the season. He had spinal fusion surgery in January and was not cleared for full contact until July 21, the day before the Giants' first training camp practice.
He was injured during practice a week later and spent a portion of last week being examined by doctors.
On Monday morning, he met with Frank Cammisa, who is the chief of spine services at the Hospital for Special Surgery and the doctor who performed Wilson's surgery in January. Cammisa and Giants team doctor Russell Warren advised Wilson not to play anymore.
"David has diffuse cervical stenosis," Warren said in the team's news release. "He had a disk removed and a fusion in January. In light of last week's episode of symptoms, sensory and motor, Frank and I both told David he should not play football anymore. We let David know that by playing he would be putting himself at risk for more episodes like last week or perhaps something more serious."
I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me or pity me. I lived my dream. A lot of people only get to dream their dream. I lived that dream.” -- David Wilson
The Giants took Wilson in the first round of the 2012 draft out of Virginia Tech. He was a star kick returner as a rookie and opened the 2013 season as the starting running back. He fumbled twice in the opener and was benched while coaches worked with him on his ball-carrying technique. He has 115 carries for 504 yards and five touchdowns in his NFL career as well as six receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown. He also scored on a kick return in 2012.
After his appointment Monday morning, the Giants say, Wilson returned to the team facility to meet with team officials.
"David and I had a great talk," general manager Jerry Reese said. "He's disappointed like all of us, but he's a strong young man and understands that he has a lot of life left to live and it's not worth it to him, his family or us to put his health in harm's way by continuing to play football."
"I'm thankful that I can literally walk away from the game and that I am healthy and capable of doing the same things I have done all my life, except play football," Wilson said. "I always try to find the positive in everything. This morning, I didn't hear what I wanted to hear, but I expected what they told me could be a possibility. I had played out both scenarios in my mind."
The Giants will open the season with Rashad Jennings as the starting running back and will back him up with Peyton Hillis, rookie Andre Williams and either Michael Cox or Kendall Gaskins.