83 Degreez: Breaks of the Business

What's up to all the Ravens fans out there. This is Daniel Wilcox, back with another offseason update on the 83 Degreez blog.

I'm still working hard on my rehab, although it's not going as well as I had hoped. I wanted to be out of the boot, but still have to wear it some days—mainly for precautionary measures. Really, that's not because my toe isn't healing right, but mostly because some pairs of shoes don't have enough cushioning. After walking around in some of those pairs that don't get broken in, it can get a little sore.

I've still been working out, though. My workout shoes are fine to wear. I'm getting some specially-ordered New Balances that come in custom sizes and should fit better. They're going to be double-wide like a trailer. And, "Bill T." [head trainer Bill Tessendorf] and his staff are doing a great job of working with me in the training room.

When you have an injury on your foot, it's a tough one to come back from. You need your feet to play this game, and unfortunately, that's where I got hurt. It won't be long now before I'm feeling good as new, though.

Last weekend, free agency started up again. My heart started beating fast just thinking about that word, "free agency." I always feel that way this time of year, just thinking about where I came from in the league. I'm still under contract for one year here, but even that doesn't guarantee anything. There were times when I wasn't under contract, and you just hope that a team sees your talents and thinks you can contribute.

That being said, I was sad to hear the news of Mike Flynn being released. I love him like a brother. He's definitely part of the Ravens family, but this is a game of physical attributes. The older you get, sometimes things aren't as sharp and there's less for you to do. I'm not saying that's the case with Mike, I'm just saying it's a reality of the game.

It gets to the point where you realize that this is a business, almost like being a doctor or a lawyer, something like that. There's always going to be someone fresh out of college or grad school that will be gunning for jobs—and sometimes that could be your job. It is easy to get bitter if you can't separate the business aspect of it from the emotion.

Let's face it: saying that you got "released" is the same as getting fired.

But, Mike is not the only one out there looking for a job now, with 31 other teams all making the tough decisions during free agency. I know he's got some serious backup plans, whether that's on the field with another team, or off the field.

It's interesting to think about the time when you're going to retire. I hope for me, it's not a situation where I am forced to give the game up. I want to go out on my own terms, like how Barry Sanders did when he was still playing at a high level. Some people criticized him for leaving, but Barry was able to leave when he wanted. I don't want to leave the game with a bitter taste in my mouth.

In other news, I recently had the opportunity to speak to students at the Champions of Courage Black History Month Awards. It was a ceremony that honored students who wrote essays about their champions of courage, people that motivated them to succeed. I was one of many speakers as part of a program that seemed to address the students from all sides. There was a pastor that had a spiritual perspective, a counselor that teaches through music, a teacher that encouraged kids to excel in the classroom. I felt truly blessed to be in front of that audience with others that give their time to care about these students. To see all the smiling faces in the audience was a prime example of how more adults should realize the effect they can have on young adults.

By the way, I told them about my mother, who is my champion of courage.

OK, that's about all from me this week. Thanks again for reading the 83 Degreez blog and taking time out of your day to learn a little bit about my life.

Talk to you later and God bless.

  • D. Wilcox #83
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