Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson announced that he will time away from football to heal after he lost two fingers in a fireworks accident on the 4th of July.
The hiatus could be a permanent one, NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus wrote, citing a source close to Wilson.
“On behalf of C.J. Wilson, he has decided to step away from the NFL at this time to focus on his immediate needs in recovery which are the foundation of his long-term health,” a statement released by his agents, Joel and Justin Turner, reads. “When CJ is fully healed and able to return to the game, he will then continue his career at that time.”
The Bucs announced Friday that they had placed Wilson, 25, on the reserve/retired list, but Tampa Bay will have the option to activate him if he passes a physical in the future.
Wilson lost his index and middle fingers on one hand when a canister containing fireworks exploded while he was holding it, his father told WBTV in Charlotte, N.C. He underwent multiple surgeries following the accident.
“C.J. is in good spirits and is continuing to focus on his rehab and the healing of his hand,” the statement reads. “He is a very strong willed young man with great work ethic and character. We look forward to seeing him play again in the future,” the statement continued.
Wilson appeared in the Buccaneers’ last who games after he was signed last season as an undrafted free agent from North Carolina State in 2013.
He wasn’t the only NFL player who experienced a fireworks-related accident on the 4th of July. Jason Pierre-Paul, a pass rusher for the New York Giants, fractured his thumb and had his right index finger amputated after a fireworks mishap during the holiday weekend.
Pierre-Paul’s injuries aren’t believed to be career threatening.