Gerald Roscoe Wilson
Born: December 9, 1936 (Birmingham, Alabama)
Died: March 5, 2015 (Birmingham, Alabama)
Jerry Wilson played three seasons with the Toronto Argonauts after playing three seasons in the NFL and winning a national collegiate championship with the Auburn Tigers.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound end and linebacker made his Big Four debut with the CFL club in 1962. While he was mostly used on defence, Wilson had nine receptions over the 1963 and ’64 seasons for 134 yards, a 14.9-yard average. He also kicked for six points in 1963, going 1-for-3 in conversions and 1-for-4 in field goals. Two missed field goals scored singles, including one in the opening game of the 1963 season, won by the Argos, 8-5, over the Ottawa Rough Riders.
Wilson suffered a wrenched knee in the 1964 preseason and only managed to play in two games that year. He ended his pro career with 23 CFL games played and 22 NFL games played.
Wilson attended Phillips High in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala., before attending Auburn University, where he was a football letterman from 1956 to 1958. The Tigers went 10-0 in 1957 (7-0 in the Southeastern Conference) and were named national champions by the Associated Press. The next year, Wilson was the only unanimous selection as All-SEC, having led the Tigers in receiving. He played in both the East-West All-Star Game and the Hula Bowl.
Wilson was selected in the second round of the 1959 NFL draft (No. 14 overall) by the Chicago Cardinals. The Cardinals traded the end and Bob Konovsky to the Philadelphia Eagles for Jerry Norton. Wilson played in 16 games with the Eagles. He was later traded to the San Francisco ’49ers for John Wittenborn.
In 1959, the Cardinals filed suit to keep Wilson from playing with the Edmonton Eskimos. The NFL team successfully argued in court the player had accepted a $1,000 payment as an advance on an $11,000 contract to play in Chicago. The Eskimos had offered a better deal.
“I’m willing to play for (the Cardinals) if the terms are agreeable,” Wilson said after Judge William A. Jenkins Jr. ruled he was under contract to the NFL team. “I sure want to play football. I need to. It’s a lot of money involved.”
He was soon after traded.
After retiring from football, Wilson coached his daughter, Jeanne Wilson, to three world and 12 national wheelchair weightlifting championships. Jeanne, a twin to Jennifer, was born with spina bifida.
Wilson served with the Air National Guard and was a deacon in the Doctrinal Studies Bible Church in Birmingham. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Clipping from Rome (N.Y.) News-Tribune, June 30, 1959