Twenty-five-year-old cornerback C.J. Wilson is leaving the Buccaneers after losing two fingers in a fireworks accident, the team said Friday. On July 4 Wilson lost the index and middle fingers from one hand, NFL.com reports. He was holding a canister with fireworks when it exploded, according to NFL.com.
Wilson’s agents released a statement Friday saying he was taking time away from football to heal. Here is the statement:
“On behalf of C.J. Wilson, he has decided to step away from the NFL at this time to focus on his immediate needs in recovery which are the foundation of his long-term health,” the statement reads. “When CJ is fully healed and able to return to the game, he will then continue his career at that time. We would like to send out our sincere appreciation to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization, especially the Glazer family, Coach Lovie Smith, GM Jason Licht and so many others who’ve provided support and encouragement these last few weeks along with their continued efforts to assist CJ in his recovery. C.J. is in good spirits and is continuing to focus on his rehab and the healing of his hand. Thanks to so many people who have sent calls and messages of concern for him. He is a very strong willed young man with great work ethic and character. We look forward to seeing him play again in the future.”
The Bucs will put Wilson on the reserve/retired list. “We know this process has been difficult for C.J. and respect his decision to step away from football,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. “We are grateful for the contributions he has made to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and wish him the best as he focuses on his health and recovery.”
Another NFL player, New York Giants pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, also suffered a fireworks accident earlier this month. He had his right index finger amputated, NFL.com reports.