Falcons cornerback Josh Wilson is part of NFL royalty.
His father, Tim Wilson, played for eight years in the NFL, mostly with the Houston Oilers. He was Earl Campbell’s fullback.
The Wilsons and the Campbells remain close, and Josh still calls the Hall of Famer “Uncle Earl.” Wilson’s father died in 1996, but Wilson, who is from Washington and played at Maryland, still has fond memories.
We talked to Wilson about his NFL experience, Campbell and his father. Here’s what he had to say: (edited for clarity and space).
Q: Did you enjoy the Earl Campbell documentary that recently aired?
A: Oh, yeah. It’s a great story. I’m glad that he had an opportunity to get out there and tell his story and let everybody understand the struggles and the things that he’s been able to overcome after he left the game. His family had a chance to get out there and talk about their father.
Q: What differences do you see around the league from your stops in Seattle, Washington and here?
A: I’ve got one of the greatest parking passes in the league right now (laughs). I have an opportunity to be a part of a team that has had a lot of success as of late. It’s a great vibe to be here in Atlanta. There are a lot of young players that have a lot of talent. It’s one of the most talented young teams that I’ve played on.
Q: Do you get a kick out seeing your dad leading Earl Campbell through the hole on those old highlights?
A: Oh, yeah. Uncle Earl calls me all the time and wants to talk. He tells me that he’s proud of me. I tell him “you’re a Hall of Famer and Heisman Trophy winner,” and I’m just flattered that he’s watching me. He had a lot more highlights than I’ve made so far.
Q: Do you cherish those conversations?
A: He’s just been very inspirational in my life and making sure that I kept my head on straight. Me and his younger son Tyler have a great relationship. He just had his first child a little while ago and got married. I love talking with those guys and keeping up with the relationship.
Q: Do you still carry the football card of Dad around with you?
A: Oh, yeah. I still have it until this day (and he pointed to it his locker.) It’s more of just a reminder that he’s with me every day. It’s definitely helped me through a lot of situations.
Q: What type of situations?
A: Everything happens for a reason. If my dad had been here the whole time, maybe I wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard as I did. Everything happens for a reason. I’m just showing him respect.
Q: What do you like about the A-T-L and what do you miss about the DMV (District-Maryland-Virginia) area?
A: D.C. is home. I grew up there. The whole family is there. I can’t really say that I don’t miss it because that’s home. But the A-T-L, I love it. I love the opportunity to get some space for me and my family. I have a young daughter and a little one on the way. … I get to spend more time with my teammates and things of that nature. But I love the friendliness of the South. It’s a lot friendlier in Atlanta than in D.C.
Q: What type of music do you relax with after football?
A: I’m more of a slow music guy. I like Miguel and I’m a huge John Legend fan. I guess I’m a little past my time with all of that loud stuff. I’m more into the mood stuff.