Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson announced in a statement he intends to “step away” from the NFL while he recovers from a July 4 fireworks accident which resulted in the loss of two fingers, according to a statement from his agents Joel and Justin Turner acquired by Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper.
“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.”
Wilson’s father, Curtis Sr., told WBTV’s Coleen Harry that his son lost the middle and index finger on one hand. The injury occurred while Wilson was holding a canister containing fireworks, the fireworks exploded inside the canister rather than shooting outward, according to Lincoln Times-News’ Ryan Herman.
Despite the severe setback, the 25-year-old’s agents say this isn’t the final chapter of Wilson’s career.
“C.J. is in good spirits and is continuing to focus on his rehab and the healing of his hand,” the statement reads. “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.”
Wilson went undrafted in 2013 before signing a one-year deal as a free agent with the Chicago Bears. He spent the majority of last season on the Buccaneers’ practice squad before being promoted to the team’s active roster in December, where he appeared in the last two regular season games, registering four tackles. The team placed him on the reserve/retired list:
#Buccaneers placed CB C.J. Wilson on reserved/retired list.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) July 24, 2015
Wilson’s accident occurred on the same day New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul injured his hand in a fireworks-related accident as well. Pierre-Paul suffered a fractured thumb, and had to have his right index finger amputated as a result of his injuries. His injuries aren’t believed to be career threatening, and it’s believed he’ll play at some point this season.