TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson has been placed on the reserve/retired list while he recovers from losing two fingers on his right hand in a July 4 fireworks accident.
The third-year pro out of North Carolina State is one of two NFL players, along with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants, who suffered hand injuries in accidents involving fireworks during the holiday weekend.
Wilson entered the league as an undrafted free agent with Chicago in 2013. He spent most of last season on Tampa Bay's practice squad, finishing with four tackles while appearing in two games on the active roster.
Wilson's agents said when the 25-year-old is "fully healed" he hopes to resume his NFL career. By being placed on the reserve/retired list, Wilson will not count against the Bucs' 90-man roster limit when training camp opens next week.
"We know this process has been difficult for C.J. and respect his decision to step away from football," Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. "We are grateful for the contributions he has made ... and wish him the best as he focuses on his health and recovery."
Wilson lost the index and middle fingers on his right hand during the accident in North Carolina. He was entering the final season of a two-year contract that would have paid him $585,000 in 2015.
Joel and Justin Turner, agents for the player, said in a statement released by the Bucs that Wilson will "focus on his immediate needs in recovery which are the foundation of his long-term health."
"When C.J. is fully healed and able to return to the game, he will then continue his career at that time," the agents said.
"C.J. is in good spirits and is continuing to focus on his rehab and the healing of his hand," the statement added. "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."