Finding his way in the NFL has never been easy for Redskins linebacker Chris Wilson.
Wilson was originally signed by Joe Gibbs as an undrafted free agent out of the Canadian Football League in 2007. He earned his roster spot as a defensive end and special teams player, making the transition to outside linebacker in 2010.
But coming out of the lockout before last season, the Redskins parted ways with Wilson, leaving him to consider life after football. Wilson took the opportunity to spend time with his family, but refused to give up on his NFL dream.
"I spent 2011 working out because I just knew I'd be back in the league," he said. "I'm too healthy, too talented, and have too much faith to think otherwise."
Wilson proved it on Saturday evening against the Colts, stepping into the starting personnel with Brian Orakpo and Rob Jackson nursing injuries.
Wilson applied consistent pressure on the quarterback, and looked comfortable at times dropping back in coverage. Wilson contributed on the sack shared by London Fletcher and Ryan Kerrigan in the first half, but got his finest play early in the third quarter against Colts quarterback Chandler Harnish.
Redskins punter Sav Rocca pinned the Colts offense back at the 15-yard line, where they proceeded to work backward toward their own goal line.
On third-and-16 from the 9-yard line, Wilson broke through into the backfield, taking Harnish down two yards deep in the endzone, for the Redskins' first safety since 2007.
"I was just looking at the formation," he explained after the game. "I'd been working hard all game trying to get a sack, and he happened to be in the end zone."
Wilson called it a proud moment, and a big stepping stone toward making the final 53-man roster. After missing an entire season out of the sport, Wilson embraces every opportunity to make a play.
"After being gone, it's something that I've learned to love and cherish," Wilson explained. "Especially being here at FedExField, it's a wonderful feeling to come back here.
"It's been over a year since I've played in this stadium and thankful that I could play well."
With two rounds of roster cuts this week, Wilson feels confident, yet prepared to make his final case for a spot on the Redskins roster.
"I know what my role is on this team: to come in and not have any drop-off from the starters," he said. "We've always been stacked at outside linebacker. That's just the Redskins Way, so I don't expect anything less."