Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson has decided to "step away from the NFL," according to a statement from his agents, and the Buccaneers have placed him on the reserve/retired list as of Friday. Wilson lost two fingers in a fireworks accident on July 4.
"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," agents Joel and Justin Turner said in the statement. "When CJ is fully healed and able to return to the game, he will then continue his career at that time."
While Wilson is now officially retired from the NFL, he can return to the league in the future as his agents suggest. Players are free to unretire and rejoin the teams they were with at the time of retirement, if that team wishes to keep ownership of said player's contract. Otherwise, the player would be a free agent.
"We know this process has been difficult for C.J. and respect his decision to step away from football," Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht said in a statement, "We are grateful for the contributions he has made to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and wish him the best as he focuses on his health and recovery."
Specifics of Wilson's injury and his outlook for the future are completely unknown at this stage. It seems likely Wilson will want to get much further along in his recovery before making decisions about his future, while not keeping the Buccaneers waiting for an answer.
Wilson was released from the hospital on July 10 and was "in very good spirits," according to ESPN. He underwent at least two surgeries on his hand, and lost the index and middle fingers off of one of his hands, according to the report. The accident occurred when the fireworks "did not pop out of the canister when they exploded."
Wilson signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He played in two games for them, and two games with the Buccaneers in 2014, recording four tackles. If Wilson does think he has a future in the NFL, he's plenty young enough at 25 years of age.