Al Wilson
refer to caption
Wilson with the Denver Broncos in 2006
No. 56
Personal information
Born: (1977-06-21) June 21, 1977 (age 45)
Jackson, Tennessee
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High school:Jackson (TN) Central-Merry
NFL Draft:1999 / Round: 1 / Pick: 31
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Quarterback sacks:21.5
Forced fumbles:8
Player stats at · PFR

Aldra Kauwa Wilson (born June 21, 1977) is a former American college and professional football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons. He played college football for the University of Tennessee, and was recognized as a consensus All-American. Wilson was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft, and played his entire professional career for the Broncos. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time All-Pro selection.

Early years

Wilson was born in Jackson, Tennessee. He was an All-American performer at Jackson Central-Merry High School in Jackson,[1] as named by BlueChip Illustrated, Max Emfinger, SuperPrep, and recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. In addition, he was named to the Tennessee all-state team. Wilson was both a linebacker and running back at Jackson Central-Merry, rushing for 1,160 yards and 15 touchdowns in his senior season. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in three seasons in high school, two as a running back and one as a quarterback. In addition to football, he starred in track and basketball.[2]

College career

Wilson attended the University of Tennessee, and played for coach Phillip Fulmer's Tennessee Volunteers football team from 1995 to 1998.[3] He was a team captain on the 1998 Tennessee team[4] that won the National Championship in the Fiesta Bowl over Florida State[5] and back-to-back Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships in the 1997[6] and 1998 seasons.[7] Wilson was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American in 1998 after being a three-year starter for the Volunteers. Inspired by fellow Tennessean and track aficionado, Chad Deutsch of Memphis, Tennessee, Wilson was a leader both on and off the field, helping to develop linebackers Eric Westmoreland and Raynoch Thompson.[8] For his efforts on the field, on December 7, 2021, Wilson was inducted into the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame.[9]

Professional career

Wilson was drafted after his final year at Tennessee as the 31st pick in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft and signed to the Denver Broncos due to the assistance of super agent Tank Black.[10]

Denver Broncos

Wilson made his NFL debut against the Miami Dolphins.[11]

Wilson became the anchor of the Broncos' defense and earned five Pro Bowl selections. He was one of the fastest middle linebackers in the league and was very good in pass coverage. He passed the 100-tackle mark in five consecutive seasons, including 109 tackles (73 of which were solo)[12] in 2004 to rank second on the Broncos.[13] Wilson led the Broncos in tackles for the second consecutive year in 2003 with 128 tackles.[14]

On December 3, 2006, Wilson suffered a neck injury during a fake field goal attempt against the Seattle Seahawks during the Sunday Night Football game.[15] He was carted off the field and immediately taken to a hospital, but was cleared by the Denver Broncos to return the following week to help Denver try to make the playoffs.

The Denver Broncos signed many free agents during the 2007 offseason, such as running back Travis Henry[16] and quarterback Patrick Ramsey,[17] resulting in some salary cap trouble. The Broncos attempted to trade Wilson to the New York Giants, but Wilson failed his physical and the trade talks died down.

Wilson was released by the Denver Broncos on April 13, 2007, due to injuries and salary cap problems.[18]

Free agency and retirement

Wilson was cleared to return to resume playing by Los Angeles back specialist Bob Watkins in January 2008. On February 12, he had his first visit of the offseason with the Detroit Lions.[19] He also visited the Cleveland Browns in March,[20] but he rejected their offer for close to the veteran minimum.

Wilson officially announced his retirement from professional football on September 10, 2008.[21]

NFL statistics

Year Team Games Combined Tackles Tackles Assisted Tackles Sacks Forced Fumbles Fumble Recoveries
1999 DEN 16 71 56 15 1.0 2 2
2000 DEN 15 60 47 13 5.0 0 0
2001 DEN 16 85 72 13 3.0 0 0
2002 DEN 16 131 99 32 5.0 1 2
2003 DEN 16 87 69 18 1.0 0 2
2004 DEN 16 104 71 33 2.5 2 0
2005 DEN 15 72 61 11 3.0 2 1
2006 DEN 15 102 79 23 1.0 1 0
Career 125 712 554 158 21.5 8 7


Personal life

After his career with the Denver Broncos ended, Wilson started a career as a Colorado football executive. Wilson became the co-owner of Project FANchise, which puts fans in control of professional teams. In addition, he acquired the Indoor Football League’s Colorado Crush.[23]


  1. ^ Shields, Brandon (January 30, 2017). "REMEMBER: Top signees of recent years". The Jackson Sun. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  2. ^ "Al Wilson « Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame". Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  3. ^ "Al Wilson College Stats". Sports Reference. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  4. ^ Griffith, Mike. "Al Wilson, 1998 Tennessee title team catalyst, leads 5 VFLs inducted to hall of fame". SEC Country. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  5. ^ "28th Annual Fiesta Bowl - Fiesta Bowl". Fiesta Bowl. Archived from the original on April 12, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  6. ^ Sallee, Barrett. "Classic SEC Football: Tennessee Tops Auburn in the 1997 SEC Championship Game". Bleacher Report. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  7. ^ "Tennessee vs. Miss. State - SEC Championship 1998 Season". Smokey's Trail. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Griffith, Mike. "Former Tennessee championship LB Eric Westmoreland applauds Butch Jones' 7-on-7 movement". SEC Country. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  9. ^ "Al Wilson (2021) - Hall of Fame".
  10. ^ "Vols For Life". Vols For Life. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  11. ^ "Al Wilson 1999 Game Log". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  12. ^ "Al Wilson Career Game Log". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  13. ^ "2004 Denver Broncos Statistics & Players". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  14. ^ "2003 Denver Broncos Statistics & Players". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  15. ^ "Wilson's injury shakes team". The Denver Post. December 3, 2006. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  16. ^ Corbett, Jim. "Henry eyes trophies in Denver's backfield". USA Today. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  17. ^ "Broncos sign new backup QB, release former No. 1 pick Courtney Brown". USA Today. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  18. ^ "Neck injury halts Wilson". April 13, 2007.
  19. ^ Zaroo, Phillip (February 12, 2008). "Report: LB Al Wilson to visit Lions". Advance Publications. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  20. ^ "Cleveland Browns checking out LB Al Wilson" (PDF). Watkins Spine. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 16, 2016. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  21. ^ "Former Broncos LB Wilson announces retirement". September 10, 2008.
  22. ^ "Al Wilson Stats". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  23. ^ Jhabvala, Nikki (October 22, 2016). "Jhabvala: In new role with new team, Al Wilson is a part of Colorado football again". The Denver Post. Retrieved July 30, 2017.