Former NFL star Stanley Wilson Jr. dead at 40 after collapsing at mental health facility

February 16, 2023
Ben Marquis

A relatively young former NFL star, 40-year-old Stanley Wilson Jr., reportedly collapsed and died at a mental health facility on Feb. 1, according to the Daily Caller.

Wilson, a defensive back who played part of three seasons with the Detroit Lions before his promising career was cut short by injuries, had been in and out of trouble with the law for several years and was known to have had a drug abuse problem in the past.

Transferred from jail to mental health facility

TMZ reported Wednesday that Wilson had actually collapsed and died on Feb. 1 during the intake process at the Metropolitan State Hospital in Los Angeles, California, which specializes in mental health treatment.

Wilson had just been ordered transferred to the mental health facility from county jail after a judge had declared him mentally unfit to stand trial on felony vandalism charges related to an incident that occurred in August 2022.

According to the outlet's sources, foul play is not suspected in Wilson's sudden death, and the results of an autopsy are awaiting the pending results of a toxicology report.

Legal troubles over the years

TMZ further reported that Wilson had been charged in August with multiple felonies for twice breaking into a Hollywood Hills mansion, the first time in which he ransacked the place and the second time in which he took a bath in an outdoor fountain.

Prior to that, in 2016, he was charged with attempted burglary and was actually shot in the abdomen by the homeowner after he tried to break into a Portland, Oregon home while naked, and was arrested and charged twice more in 2017, first for walking naked around a Portland neighborhood and then again for another attempted burglary.

Per NBC Sports, Wilson had also faced trouble over the years after several positive tests for illicit drug use, which coincidentally was what ended the promising career of his football-playing father, Stanley Wilson Sr., who played as a star running back for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals for several years in the 1980s.

Wilson Sr. played for the Bengals from 1983 until 1989, but was suspended for the entirety of the 1985 and 1987 seasons for failing drug tests, and missed out on the team's 1989 Super Bowl appearance after he was caught using cocaine the night before the big game. Wilson Sr. is alleged to have suffered from bipolar disorder and was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 1999 following a burglary conviction.

A brief career ended by injuries

NBC Sports noted that Wilson Jr. played college football at Stanford University and was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2005 and showed the potential to be a star defensive back for the team.

Unfortunately, he missed part of the 2007 season with a bad knee injury and then was compelled to end his career after suffering an Achilles injury in a 2008 preseason game.

Over the course of that brief career, Wilson played in 32 games and was credited with 87 total tackles, eight pass breakups, and one forced fumble.

No cause of death yet, but plenty to speculate about

To be sure, until the autopsy and toxicology report is released, nobody can say with any certainty what, exactly, caused Wilson Jr.'s death.

That said, given the exceedingly odd and criminal behavior, particularly involving nudity, as well as the reported drug abuse and history of mental illness in his family, not to mention the very real risk of having suffered traumatic brain injuries while playing football, there will likely be plenty of speculation in that regard.

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