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Muhammad Wilkerson Says He Was Playing Hurt

The reason the Green Bay Packers now employ defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson is because he fell out of favor with the New York Jets.

The Jets released Wilkerson in late February. He signed with the Packers in early March.

In 2016, Wilkerson got a deal averaging $17 million per season. This came after a season in which he put up 64 tackles and 12 sacks. Then his production plummeted.

2016: 58 tackes and 4.5 sacks.

2017: 46 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

Wilkerson was also a healthy scratch by the Jets for the final three games of the season after showing up late for a team meeting. There were consistent rumors that he was disillusioned with the constant losing in New York, that he wanted out, that he wasn’t giving his all.

If you believe Wilkerson, the latter doesn’t appear to be true.

Wilkerson says he played through a lingering ankle injury in 2016. He played with a shoulder injury in 2017.

“I would do whatever I had to do to numb pain and things like that, whatever the case may be,” Wilkerson said. “Take shots to be able to play so I could be out there to help the team — that’s what I would do. … I definitely was never 100 percent the last two years.”

The good news is Wilkerson now appears to be 100 percent healthy. He’s also been working out like a madman and has the motivation that comes with getting released.

Wilkerson took multiple free agent visits, but he says he knew he wanted to sign with the Packers — his first stop — as soon as he walked in the door.

“This is all new to me, but just going to Green Bay and visiting, I just felt like that was the place for me to have a new start,” Wilkerson said. “There’s a lot of great tradition there and a lot of great players came through that organization and hopefully I can be a part of something great there and good things can definitely happen for me and the rest of the team there.

“Just when I walked in the facility, just looking at everything, the trophies and everything on the wall — the energy and the vibe — it was like, ‘I’ve got to be here; this is the place to be.’ And going to the field just walking out of the tunnel and just being able to play there for eight home games and the playoffs, I know the atmosphere will be great. I got chills just walking out of the tunnel and the stadium was empty and I’m just picturing my first home game and I know it will be great, man.”

If the Packers can get the Wilkerson of 2013 (63 and 10.5) or 2015, they’re going to have one of the best, if not the best, defensive line in the league.

Even if the Packers don’t get that Wilkerson, the defensive line still has the potential to be crazy good. Either Wilkerson, Mike Daniels or Kenny Clark is going to be single-teamed, likely two of the three.

So go ahead and pick your poison.

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Joseph Bonham

Joseph is a fiction writer when he isn't doing this. In his spare time he likes to do manly things like drink beer and procreate.

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4 Comments

  1. Dennis Dervetski April 13, 2018

    Injury? Health? Welcome to the Packers! Noe he’ll be able to join Matthews, Baluga, Perry, and Cobb this year watching from the sideline. Group rehab.

  2. PF4L April 13, 2018

    IF you are a fan of the word IF….become a Packer fan, you’ll be in heaven.

  3. KILLER April 13, 2018

    Blowing some sunshine up Packer fan butts?

    Here is some truth:

    http://www.espn.com/blog/new-york-jets/post/_/id/73475/the-sad-and-disturbing-fall-of-muhammad-wilkerson

    Did his ankle or shoulder make him late for meetings?

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2725146-jets-reportedly-believe-muhammad-wilkerson-takes-a-lot-of-plays-off

    Did his ankle or shoulder make him lazy?

    http://larrybrownsports.com/football/muhammad-wilkerson-has-huge-gut-let-himself-go/357145

    Did his ankle or shoulder make him eat all that food and get fat? That is a pretty funny article right there.

    Of course, if you trust Mo all is good. Just take his comments and run with that as the truth. You know, fat, lazy, late people never say they are fat, lazy, or late. They just say they had a sore ankle.

    You wanna buy into it? Go ahead, knock yourself out. Drink thank Kool-Aid. Suck it down.

    Maybe he can and will turn it around. His performance this year will not indicate what he said was true. We already know it wasn’t true. Plenty of people on the team had soreness and injuries. Were they deactivated as healthy scratches for three games? Pretty obvious there is more to it than what Mo would have you believe.

    If he does round back into form — by not being round — and has a good year the Packers better avoid signing him to an extension because apparently it makes him fat, uncaring, disrespectful, selfish, and lazy. And a liar! So, if he plays bad it was a bad signing. If he plays well and it fools the Packers into resigning him it will also prove to be a bad signing!

  4. cz April 14, 2018

    Wilkerson plays hurt = Less performance

    Favre played with hundreds/thousands of concussions = good to go, ready