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Michael Wilson Seeks 17 On The Stat Sheet

Rookie wide receiver wants to be available every game

When you ask Michael Wilson about numbers, he's not going to mention 75 (catches) or 1,000 (yards). He's going to go with 17.

As in, 17 games played in a season. A mark that, for now, is his biggest NFL goal.

The rookie wide receiver is "very conscious of getting the injury-prone tag," receivers coach Drew Terrell said. After he was hurt a second time this season, Wilson apologized to Terrell. "I'm like 'Dude, you can't control that. Just keep working. I know how you work. If I was worried about your mental and being soft, you probably wouldn't be in the building.'"

Wilson nods his head at the story. It was after the Falcons win, after Wilson had missed a game with a shoulder issue, knowing his new malady -- the shoulder problem was actually a neck issue -- would keep him down a few games. 

"I told him I know the narrative," Wilson said. "I know when time passes and you look back, it's going to say 13 games played this year. Then they will go back to my fifth year (in college) and I only played six games, and my fourth year I only played four games and my third year I only played three games.

"It's a results-based business and even though you can say he doesn't have hamstring never have soft tissue stuff, it's these weird injuries, but it's still missing games. That tag is going to follow me until I play a full season, which is unfortunate."

Wilson has 28 catches for 435 yards and two touchdowns, but those were also his stats after the Atlanta game Nov. 12, which was followed not only by missing three games with the neck injury but also now two straight games without a catch (on seven targets).

"It's definitely frustrating," Wilson said. "I feel like the season has taken a 180 for me. Started the season, it was damn near perfect for me. Every time I was thrown the ball it was a completion or a first down or an explosive. Now for some reason (Kyler Murray and I) can't complete a pass together. Some of it is my fault, some of it is lack of time together."

It would seem an offseason together for Murray and Wilson might benefit them more than any other Murray connection, given how little time they have had on the field with Murray's rehab. But Murray has nothing to do with Wilson's top goal.

"I want that 17," Wilson said.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Wilson (14) during the Week 15 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Dec 17, 2023 in Glendale, AZ.