A star running back at the University of Oklahoma, Wilson was selected in the ninth round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He wasn’t as solid a pro as his college career indicated he’d be, but that was mainly because he struggled greatly with an addiction to cocaine.
Being a famous guy didn’t help at all. For violating the NFL’s drug policy, he was suspended for the entirety of the 1985 season … and then the 1987 season, too. Fortunately, he made it back to the Bengals in 1988, rushing for 398 yards, and helping his team reach the Super Bowl. They lost, 20-16, but perhaps it would have gone the Bengals’ way had Wilson actually played in the game.
Thing is, he didn’t, and it’s his own damn fault. The night before the Super Bowl, Wilson was caught by a Bengals coach high on cocaine (with powder all over his nose) in a hotel bathroom. That was Wilson’s third violation under the NFL’s “three strikes and you’re out” rule, so he was banned for life. Continuing to be haunted by drug and mental health issues throughout the ’90s, Wilson finished the decade by robbing a house and stealing an estimated $130,000 worth of jewelry, cameras, and other valuables from a house in Beverly Hills.
Wilson had already served time for breaking into two houses in Long Beach, so he was sentenced harshly under the state of California’s “three strikes and you’re out rule.” His 1999 sentence was for 23 years, so he’s scheduled for parole in 2022. That’s twice a third strike cost him dearly — we’re guessing he doesn’t watch a lot of baseball in the prison lounge.