If David Wilson wanted to see how his surgically repaired neck would handle a collision before Friday, he knew what to do.
"I can just go to Times Square and get bumped into a couple times down there," the running back told Giants.com. "But it's average people, not some of the world's best athletes."
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So Wilson had to prove to the coaches, teammates, and most of all himself, that his neck could take a hit on an NFL field. That happened Friday in the Giants' first practice in shoulder pads. About midway through the workout, Wilson took a handoff and received a thump from second-year safety Cooper Taylor.
"That felt good," Wilson said. "I definitely know I'm cleared now."
Wilson hadn't worn shoulder pads or taken a hit since Week 5 last season.
"It was a little different - a lot different -- because that's the longest I've ever been out of pads," he said. "Basically, I had two offseasons. The first five minutes of practice I was lifting my arms, trying to get adjusted to the pads again, especially because I got a brand new pair of pads. So they're not even the last pair of pads I wore. But it felt good to go back out there with my teammates and compete again."
Wilson had a couple of carries, but only that one hit from Taylor. Which was good. On one play he scooted through the line of scrimmage without taking a bump. That's the kind of play the Giants are hoping to see from Wilson. He took a big step toward giving it to them on Friday and he is expecting to play in the preseason opener next weekend against the Bills in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
"In the OTAs and minicamp we don't have on pads, so it's like, 'Alright, I'm playing football but I'm not really out there playing football,'" he said. "But when you get the pads on and the linemen get to thud up and you get to really see where the holes are and you thud up with the linebackers in pass protection and different things, all that is what I've been missing."