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Published: Sunday, 11/11/2012

‘THE ALL-AMERICAN’

Matt Wilhelm was 'The All-American" for 2002 Buckeyes

BY DAVID BRIGGS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Ohio State linebacker Matt Wilhelm is shown in this Nov. 23, 2002 file photo. Ohio State linebacker Matt Wilhelm is shown in this Nov. 23, 2002 file photo.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

MATT WILHELM

Line­backer

A life­time of hard hits is catch­ing up to Matt Wil­helm.

An All-Amer­i­can line­backer on Ohio State’s na­tional cham­pi­on­ship team, he senses his mem­ory slip­ping.

“Just not re­ally be­ing able to re­call spe­cif­ics about games and events,” said Wil­helm, who es­ti­mates he suf­fered four or five con­cus­sions in his ca­reer.

But he counts him­self among the lucky ones. Wil­helm, 31, was smart with the mil­lions he earned over an eight-year NFL ca­reer and left the game on his own terms.

“For the most part,” he said, “I’m healthy.”

Wil­helm re­tired from the Green Bay Pack­ers af­ter the 2010 sea­son the same way he left OSU — as a cham­pion — and now lives in his na­tive Lo­rain, Ohio, where he works as a pro­moter for a 90-day fit­ness chal­lenge from the Los An­ge­les-based com­pany ViSalus.

He hopes to stay in­volved with the game. A vet­eran of the NFL’s Broad­cast Boot Camp, an an­nual four-day train­ing ses­sion for play­ers in­ter­ested in talk­ing foot­ball af­ter walk­ing it, Wil­helm plans to look for tele­vi­sion work in the fu­ture.

But for now, his job is as a hus­band and father to two young chil­dren, Ma­son, 4, and Gianna, 2 — the rea­son he chose to stay at home when the NFL lock­out ended late last sum­mer.

“Be­ing with my chil­dren through­out the lock­out was prob­a­bly the rea­son why I left,” said Wil­helm, a fourth-round draft pick by the San Diego Charg­ers in 2003. “I knew it would be dif­fi­cult for me to be away from them. I re­ally just made the de­ter­mi­na­tion of walk­ing away on top, win­ning a Su­per Bowl af­ter hav­ing a suc­cess­ful ca­reer.”

Ma­son, too, has seen clips of the cham­pi­on­ship game.

“I’ll ask him who it is, and he’ll say it’s me,” Wil­helm said with a laugh. “But he doesn’t know what or why or any­thing about it.”

Grow­ing up in Ohio, he will soon enough.

 



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