JACKSONVILLE – This was a well-deserved honor.
It also was hard-earned – with Jaguars veteran safety Jarrod Wilson traveling a long, tricky path to being nominated for a prestigious award late in his fifth NFL season.
"I'm just really appreciative; I'm just thankful," Wilson said Thursday as the Jaguars (1-10) prepared to play the Minnesota Vikings (5-6) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Jaguars on Thursday announced Wilson as the team's nominee for the Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award, which honors the NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. Former Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell won the NFL's Bart Starr Award for the 2018 season.
"It's just an honor to representing both on and off the field in a positive light," Wilson said.
Wilson in 2016 launched the Jarrod Wilson Foundation with a focus on "giving back to communities through career and college readiness, scholarship programs, community service and athletics."
Wilson spent three seasons mostly playing as a backup before moving into the starting lineup entering the 2019 season. He started every game and played every snap last season and was voted a team captain entering the 2020 season.
"We got to really see him mature and grow," Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash said. "He's a tremendous person. He takes control of that room. He's a great professional. He was that way early on coming out. He understood what he needed to do to develop himself as an individual and naturally turn into a leader within that group. He's a true leader and it's great to see where he's come from to be nominated for this award.
"He loves football. He goes out and plays when he's banged up. He sucks it up and he plays and does what's best for our football team. The team is always first with him and I think that's a credit to him and how he has matured over the years."
Jaguars middle linebacker Joe Schobert on what it would mean to snap a 10-game losing streak: "As an athlete and a competitor, that's what you play the game for – to get wins, whatever that game may be against whoever it may be. That's why we put all the time and effort in. When you hit a slide like this, it's tough because you're working every day during the week, putting time in, studying and getting game plans ready and understanding what you need to do to win the game. We've had so many close games. It's just a couple of plays here and there … if they could have flipped our way and we could have gotten a win, it would have been so much better. We've been in games. If we could get a win, it would go a long way toward just the overall morale of the whole locker room."
Wilson on the streak: "It's definitely difficult. There are frustrations each and every week when you don't get the outcome you want. It's frustrating. We're a 1-10 ballclub. You can't hang your head about that. It's not like we're going to line up Sunday to lose. We have five more opportunities. We expect to keep chugging and try to get a victory Sunday."