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Friday, February 6, 2009
Ex-football player, wrestler Wilson dies

Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Jim Wilson, an All-America offensive lineman on Vince Dooley's first team at Georgia who played four years in the NFL and had a second career in professional wrestling, died this week, the school announced Friday.

Wilson, 67, died Monday after a battle with cancer.

Dooley described Wilson as "the strongest player I've ever seen" after helping Georgia win seven games in the coach's first season. The Pittsburgh native was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round of the 1965 NFL draft and was voted to the 1965 all-rookie team.

Wilson also played for the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams.

Wilson entered professional wrestling and was best known for his attempts to start a wrestling union and lobby for reform in the sport.

He said he was blackballed by wrestling for his efforts. He wrote a book about his experiences while continuing attempts to rein in those who govern the sport.

In 2007, he called for Congress to hold hearings on the wrestling industry.

"In those other sports, they aren't dropping like flies like they are in the wrestling business," Wilson told The Associated Press at the time. "Now is the time to push for legislation nationally."

Wilson was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and into the UGA Circle of Honor in 2005. He also was a member of Georgia's 1950-75 all-time team.

A memorial service is Feb. 13 at 3 p.m. at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Roswell.