Muhammad Wilkerson’s once-promising career already appeared over.
Wilkerson still hasn’t officially retired, although the NFL just sent him a message that he should consider that path.
Muhammad Wilkerson starred for the Jets
A solid pass-rusher at Temple, Muhammad Wilkerson skipped his senior year of college to enter the NFL.
The New York Jets, still led by All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis and a dominant defense, selected Wilkerson with the 30th overall pick in 2011. Wilkerson contributed three sacks and 13 tackles for loss in 16 starts as a rookie, then added five sacks and three forced fumbles in his second year.
Wilkerson broke out with 10.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and even had a 6-yard interception in 2013. Although Wilkerson wasn’t named to the Pro Bowl, he earned second-team All-Pro honors.
Wilkerson’s sacks dipped to six in 2014, but he doubled that total in 2015, a year which ended in his first Pro Bowl nod.
That was the last of Wilkerson’s time as a dominant player. Wilkerson had 10 tackles for loss in 2016, but only 4.5 sacks. The Jets parted ways with Wilkerson after a 3.5-sack, four-TFL season in 2017.
Wilkerson had five tackles in two-plus games with the Packers in 2018 before he suffered a severe ankle injury. He spent last season out of the league.
Muhammad Wilkerson has battled off-field problems in recent years
Various off-field issues complicated Muhammad Wilkerson’s final NFL years.
At first, those problems were only limited to the locker room. Wilkerson faced discipline in 2017 for a history of arriving late or outright skipping team meetings.
New York kept Wilkerson out of the team’s final three games that year.
Wilkerson was arrested for DWI in June 2019. According to Sports Illustrated, Wilkerson had a .09 blood alcohol level, just over the .08 legal limit.
New Jersey State Police arrested Wilkerson in March and charged him with DWI, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The NFL may have just ended Wilkerson’s comeback hopes
Muhammad Wilkerson missed most of the 2018 season and spent all of last year as a free agent.
Wilkerson might not want to count on that changing any time soon. The NFL recently suspended Wilkerson for the first two weeks of this season.
None of that, in theory, would stop a team from signing Wilkerson later this year. His suspension will be over by the middle of September.
Still, Wilkerson had two DWIs in less than a year. Coupled with the issues he had in his final months with the Jets, teams may not want to risk bringing Wilkerson in just yet.
The suspension served as a reminder that every action has a reaction. If Wilkerson can’t work on limiting those negative actions, the 30-year-old pass-rusher may have played his last NFL down.