Where are they now: Otis Wilson

Otis Wilson shares his thoughts on his son, Quincy, being selected by the Atlanta Falcons, why he would never go into coaching and what he thinks the future of the Bears holds.

Otis Wilson played eight seasons for the Bears (1980-87). He was part of the most dominant defense football has ever seen that spearheaded a Super Bowl XX victory.

However with his playing days behind him he's happy to see his son will continue the family legacy. The Atlanta Falcons selected Quincy, a recent graduate of West Virginia, in the 7th round of the draft.

To have a son drafted into the NFL is just about as good as it gets. I'm so proud of him. The feeling I had when his phone call came Sunday afternoon was one of complete joy. It's a wonderful thing when your child has the chance to follow his dreams.

I've watched Quincy play football since he was a kid in grade school. I've seen the highs and the lows. He never gave up and now he has achieved what he has always hoped for.

When professional players are out there having a good time on Sundays, most people who are watching them never stop to think about what went into that achievement. There are years and years of hard work, heartbreak, and injuries.

As kids, these athletes have played when the wind chill is below zero, and have practiced when it's above 100 degrees outside. They've been discouraged, hurt and tired. They've had to stay up late in order to keep up with homework. Even finding time for a social life was difficult.

What has distinguished these few players who made it to the professional level is that they had a goal and they stuck with it. I find that admirable.

Quincy loved football the first time he was out on the field. Of course, that is something that he grew up with. I remember him tagging after me when he hardly was big enough to pick up my helmet.

To me, playing at the professional level is a natural progression for Quincy. He has always dominated no matter where he lined up. He was good in high school, and good in college. He has always been up to whatever challenges were put before him.

Atlanta will be a wonderful fit for Quincy. It's a great city and a fine team. The thing that I like is the fact that the pressure will be on Michael Vick. Quincy will have the luxury to develop out of the spotlight, which is very important for any rookie. It won't be a situation like Eli Manning. Eli is a Big Dog. He'll come into New York and he'll have to be a star right away. Nobody will cut him any slack, that's for sure. It can be a lot for a young guy to deal with.

What I've told both Quincy is that the work for has not ended, it's only begun. Just as he was encouraged throughout school to keep his grades up, exactly the same thing is expected of in the NFL. Professional football offers no second chances. You sign on with a team and you start to study their playbook right away. The coaches want you to learn everything quickly. If you don't produce, you're out. Football at this level isn't just fun; it's a responsibility.

I see Quincy spending a lot of time with Special Teams during his first year. That's a good place to be. It's an introduction to the NFL and a fine place to develop skills. I've told him that there's so much to learn, he should take any and every opportunity to become a better player. I think he'll have a solid future and I can't wait to watch him in that first game.

I'm very pleased with the way the Bears have drafted this year. They were weak on the defensive side of the ball and I think they filled many of those needs for the future. If the current guys and these rookies stay together and stay healthy this team should do well. I've always said that defense will win the game for you. Look at what happened in 1985. Lovie Smith and Ron Rivera know what it takes, and they are headed in that direction.

Would I ever consider coaching? No way. I'm so busy working with youth right now I don't have time to even think about such a possibility. I have my own foundation, 55 Alive, which is involved on a statewide level with health and fitness for children from ages 7-17.

Currently, one of our larger projects involves working with Mayor Daley's Sports 37 program. We are stressing the importance of fitness in daily life. We want kids to be concerned with what they put into their bodies and how they take care of themselves.

But even more than fitness, the goal of the foundation is to help kids with life skills. We want to develop well-rounded young people who are equipped to deal with life's demands. We partner up with local organizations and park districts that request our assistance. It's been very successful so far. We are looking forward to having an even greater impact on the youth of Illinois in the future.


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