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Ohio State

‘THE ALL-AMERICAN’

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

FIESTA-OHIO-ST-WILHELM-buckeyes

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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