83 Degreez: Offseason Plans

What's up everybody? This is Daniel Wilcox coming at you again with another blog. Thanks for stopping by and catching up with me.

I feel pretty excited about the rest of this offseason, in what I can accomplish once I get back to being healthy. I had surgery on my toe a few weeks ago, so I'm looking forward to continuing my rehab. You really have to stay positive and push through this whole experience. Really, this is my first year out of eight in the NFL where I've started the offseason with a surgery. Mentally, I just have to stay strong if I want to conquer it, and I know I will. I'm just looking forward to next year and coming into training camp healthy again.

It's hard to put a timetable on when I will be back and ready to run. Right now, I'm still in a boot, so I'm kind of wobbling around. I hope to be able to walk without the boot within a week, and I'll just go from there. The doctors said I'm looking at around six months before I'm 100 percent, so that will be right around when training camp will start. Just because I'm in a boot doesn't mean I'm not working out, though. I've been in the weight room, trying to stay in shape and keep my strength. The Ravens have a great training staff, so they've been working with me. They are amazing in what they do, and I trust that they'll get me back to 100 percent as soon as they can.

It's been such a busy offseason for me, not even thinking about the injury. As some of you may know, I'm getting married this summer, and let me tell you, planning a wedding is one of the most stressful things in the world. The whole thing about weddings is that you want to make your partner the happiest person in the world and give them everything they want out of their wedding. I have the prettiest and most supportive fiancé in the world, and I want her to have everything she could possibly want. A "Cinderella" wedding.

Well, we're having it at M&T Bank Stadium with a guest list of 300. I know. That's a lot. It's one of those situations where you pray that 150 don't show up or something so you can save as much money as you can. Honestly, I think weddings are just like the Super Bowl or All-Star weekend, where everything is overpriced. Everybody thinks they can make a dollar off of you when they hear the word "wedding," let alone when they hear "Baltimore Ravens." It's a frustrating experience making sure you're getting a good deal on things and not being shaken down by untrustworthy people.

I've actually been working with the team a lot with the event, and it's good to have the support from the Ravens, people you can trust. One thing about life in the NFL is that everybody thinks you're rich, and that's just not the case. My first-year signing bonus was $5,000… before taxes! Here I am eight years later, in and out and back in the league, and people think you're filthy rich because of those eight years. When you have this type of lifestyle, there are certain things that are like keeping up with the joneses, but in order to actually have money in this league, you have to save every penny that you get. You have to live within your means, and for the typical player like me, that means not going out and wasting money on expensive gifts, crazy cars or all the jewelry in the world. You can live comfortably, but you'll lose if you live outside of that.

That being said, I've met a lot of great people that have been great through this experience. First of all, my fiance is incredibly creative, so she's been able to take control of a lot of the things. I think it's going to be that fairytale wedding, in a large part because of what she's been able to do. And, I'm going to be the first NFL player to get married in M&T Bank Stadium, so that is another thing I'm proud of.

Now, I'm from Atlanta, and my fiancé is from Brooklyn (by way of Belize), so having it in Baltimore was a good place to bring everybody together. Baltimore is my home right now and was the place that welcomed me into the community. It was the team that took a chance on me and let me showcase my skills as a tight end and not just a special teamer. Brian Billick and the Ravens gave me an opportunity to play, and I am grateful for that. So, I thought it was right to have the ceremony where home is.

OK, enough about the wedding for now. I do want to talk about John Harbaugh, our new coach. I really think he is a great man, and that's not just because he is coaching the team. I mean that more with regards to how he carries himself and how pleasing it was to talk with him. I've never had coaches come to me - an undrafted free agent that had to work for everything I've got - and ask what my thoughts were on this team, or what kind of offense I wanted to run. Those are questions that came from our head coach! It just shows the type of character he has and how much he cares for this organization. From what I've heard from some players in Philadelphia, they loved coach Harbaugh, and I think we will too.

Of course, there are going to be times when he's wearing us out on the field and we're like, 'Man, I hate this guy.' But there will also be times when we love the way he's coaching us. There's always going to be ups and downs, but I think we'll be better as a football team because of him. He brought in an all-star cast of coaches that exemplifies what he wants to do: win.

It seems like coach Harbaugh is also family oriented, which I think is important in any profession. Family should definitely come first, and he seems like that type of guy. I'm looking forward to joining his Ravens family and seeing how things go. I've even invited him to my putt-putt tournament for Empowerment M.I.N.D.S. this summer, so he can bring his wife and daughter out for some golf and meet some of the Baltimore fans.

In closing, I'd just like to say thank you as always for taking the time out of your busy schedules to read the 83 Degreez blog. It's always fun to let you into my personal life and what's going on with me. Here's wishing all the Ravens fans out there much love on Valentine's Day.

Talk to you soon.

  • D. Wilcox #83
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