NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The excitement was captured in all caps and required four exclamation points.
Wilson grew up in Paducah, Ky., about 135 miles northwest of the place where he’ll establish a new home. Wilson has spent most of the past nine seasons with Buffalo, who released him in a salary-saving move on Feb. 11.
The 6-foot, 212-pound safety, who converted from receiver along the way and five-time captain with the Bills is expected to add experience and leadership to a young Titans defense.
“George is a quality veteran player,” Titans general manager Ruston Webster said. “He will contribute for us on the field, but his contributions also will come off the field, in the locker room and in the meetings rooms. He was respected as a football player and a leader during his career in Buffalo, and he will bring that veteran presence to our team.”
Wilson tallied 362 tackles, 12 interceptions, 22 passes defended, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries and 57 special teams tackles in 92 games with the Bills. He entered the NFL as a receiver with Detroit out of Arkansas, but was waived at the end of his rookie training camp with the Lions. He then signed to the Bills practice squad and transitioned from offense to defense during the 2007 offseason.
Wilson made 55 starts at safety for the Bills, including 29 in the past two seasons, and was chosen as the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2009 and 2011.
Wilson missed Tennessee’s game against Buffalo in December 2011 but played against the Titans this past season, recording eight tackles.
“George is a real quality person, a real quality player, a great athlete,” Hasselbeck said. “I think everyone has got a ton of respect for his game and what he brings to the table. We’re excited to have him.”
Hasselbeck said Wilson will reinforce coach Mike Munchak’s motto, “Be a pro.”
“One thing when you think about George, ‘Hey, this guy’s a pro. He’s a guy you can count on, and he’s going to know his job and do it,’ ” Hasselbeck said. “Whether you’re young or old, you have the ability to be a pro, and he’s just exactly that kind of guy. It’s a great description for the kind of player he is.”