One of the fastest raising stars of the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp had been rookie safety J.J. Wilcox. He’s always around the ball either making a sure tackle on an opponent, or disrupting the play. His instincts are superb and that has aided him greatly throughout his learning process. The best this team could hope for from a player with limited experience at the position.
And then lightning struck.
With the death of his mother, Wilcox has been away from the team and football. He needed to be with his family in their time of need. Football always comes second to family matters of this magnitude.
Looking forward beyond tragedy, Wilcox is going to have a tough road ahead of him. He was already behind the curve, having only played one year on the defensive side of the ball. He was progressing quickly in Dallas, but he still had a ways to go. When he returns to the team in Dallas next we can expect one of two scenarios playing out.
Scenario one- Wilcox struggles with getting back into the groove of things, never really being able to put the family struggles behind him, and is only partially effective this season. He shows up from time to time on gameday, but you can tell he’s just not quite right.
Scenario two- Wilcox has obvious respect for his missing mother, and because of this admiration he vows to be better than before. He continues to grow and mature in the NFL and he solidifies a secondary in Dallas that has been in flux for quite a while. His performance is a surprise to many, but he’ll do amazing things all out of tribute to his mother.
Which one do you see playing out? Either is a possibility.
Personally I see scenario two the more likely of the pair. Wilcox’s mother has been dealing with this ailment for some time and he has improved steadily through the turmoil. He had his best performance to date against Oakland as his mother’s conditioned worsened. He has the obvious ability to work through his personal issues and not let it affect his performance on the field.
Dealing with the passing of a loved one is never easy, especially when it is someone as influential as a mother. Wilcox’s play will only improve, and by this time next year, we’ll be talking about how much better he’ll be in year two.
There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time – Malcolm X.