Kyrie Wilson has never been a name that frequently shows up on the injury report.
The 28-year-old linebacker was as reliable as it gets in 2019. He didn’t miss a game and played the third most defensive plays for the Blue Bombers.
But 2021 has been a much different story for the Fresno, Calif., native. Wilson, who’s been a Bomber since 2017, went down with a hip flexor prior to Week 1 and hasn’t played a single snap all season. It’s uncharted territory, as the most time he’s ever missed was one game in college at Fresno State.
“Oh, it’s tough. Especially on game day you get that feeling like ‘Man, I wish I was out there with the boys.’ But you have to be patient when you go through a little adversity,” said Wilson, who spoke to the media Tuesday for the first time since season the opened.
CFL newcomer Jontrell Rocquemore and Canadian veteran Jesse Briggs have filled in admirably at Wilson’s weak-side linebacker position through seven weeks. But Wilson might reclaim his throne as soon as Friday when the Bombers head to Vancouver to play the B.C. Lions. Wilson has been an active participant at practice this week and said he’s ready to make his season debut. He wasn’t surprised to see the unit not miss a beat without him, but he’s anxious to contribute to the cause.
“Everybody just plays together. I feel like we’re closer than last year. We were close, but I feel like everyone’s starting to understand the defence a lot better,” Wilson said.
“It’s like a family and I like how everyone plays together and talks on the field. No matter who’s up, they’re ready to go. The linebackers that had to step up, they did their thing, they balled out. I’m happy for everybody that stepped up.”
After spending the most of his first two CFL seasons as a backup, Wilson established himself as one of the league’s most underrated defenders in 2019. He registered 63 defensive tackles, three sacks, one interception, five pass knockdowns, three fumble recoveries and three tackles for losses. One of his best performances came in the Grey Cup victory over Hamilton when he made five tackles and had a pass knockdown on a two-point convert attempt.
“I thought he was on the verge of being absolutely outstanding,” said head coach Mike O’Shea of Wilson’s 2019 season.
“He was probably a few plays shy of getting a lot of recognition and having people understand how good a football player he is.”
But the recognition, or lack thereof, isn’t what drives Wilson.
“At the end of the day, it’s a team sport,” he said.
“I just want to do my part. As long as we’re winning, it doesn’t matter who’s getting their name called. I just want to do my best to help the team.”
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.
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