NFL Tennessee Titans safety and Paducah native George Wilson is continuing his passion of giving back to the city that raised him. He recently came “home” to lead the George Wilson S.A.F.E.T.Y. Foundation’s 6th Annual Sports Fest and Charity Bowling Event and the Football and Cheer Camp in Paducah. The event brought together around 300 students who actively participated in agility drills, football specifics, sprint races and team building exercises. The Cheerleader Camp consisted of cheer warm-ups, exercises and choreographed dance routines. Wilson partnered with the Fuel Up to Play 60, Paducah Independent School District, and Western Baptist Hospital to raise the awareness of childhood obesity.
The cause is important to Wilson due to its dramatic effect on today’s youth. “Childhood obesity has become an epidemic and the first place it starts is at home. I’m going to do all I can to help the kids in my hometown,” said Wilson.
Wilson rose to local fame as a two-time all-state selection at wide receiver for Paducah Tilghman High School. An all star athlete and overall high achiever he graduated with high marks and earned an academic scholarship to the University of Arkansas. There he took his skills back to the field and earned a walk-on to the Arkansas Razorbacks football team.
With a college degree in hand Wilson entered the NFL with the Detroit Lions in 2004 as an undrafted free agent wide receiver. Once released by the Lions he was picked up by the Buffalo Bills when they signed him to their practice squad. During the 2007 offseason, Wilson was asked to make the difficult transition from wide receiver to safety. He went into training camp knowing that he wasn’t promised or guaranteed anything but an opportunity. He worked diligently each day to learn the new position and impress the coaching staff. The risky move paid off enormously. By week five in the season he was selected to be a starter against his favorite childhood team, the Dallas Cowboys. During that game he made one of the highlight plays of his career when he caught his first career interception and ran it back for a touchdown.
His leadership skills on and off the field earned him an elected position as team captain for each of his final five seasons in Buffalo. In February of 2013 Wilson was picked up by the Tennessee Titans. A move that brought him closer home!
Wilson is not only a powerful and relatable sports figure, he is also the recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2009 and 2011. The Walter Payton Award honors players who demonstrate outstanding balance in their lives between civic and professional responsibilities.
This dedication to community and health has also resulted in Wilson becoming the recipient of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership Award, which is an award given to individuals who improve the lives of people within their community by providing or enhancing opportunities to engage in sports, physical activities, fitness or nutrition-related programs.
Wilson does all of this great work under The George Wilson S.A.F.E.T.Y. Foundation, which is a non-profit organization he founded in 2010. The mission of the Foundation is to Save Adolescents From the Everyday Trials of Youth by using life skills as a tool to educate youth on how to survive in different environments. The programs have been designed to give students an opportunity to participate in activities that will assist in the development of the true leader within. The Foundation has seven core values Faith, Honesty, Caring, Respect, Responsibility, Leadership and Team Work.