Former Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. was arrested on Sunday night in Tampa on an outstanding warrant. He was cited on March 1 for driving with a suspended license with knowledge and missed his court date.
Wilder, who is the son of 10-year NFL running back James Wilder, issued the following statement on Monday:
Last night in my hometown of Tampa, Florida, I was pulled over by an officer and arrested on a warrant for missing a court date for driving with a suspended license. My license had been suspended in Florida while I was training in California for the NFL Combine. Several weeks ago, when I returned home, my license was reinstated, but I did miss a mandatory court date. The police officers were all professional and I apologized to them for my actions. There is really no excuse for missing court dates.
I have good people in my life who always tell me to watch what I do because I am in the public eye, and because kids look up to me. I really do want to be the kind of person who makes people proud. I am not proud of myself when I make mistakes like this.
I've seen articles today about other mistakes I have made in my life, like missing court dates for traffic violations or the time I argued with a police officer over an issue my girlfriend and I were having. I know there are no excuses for those things, even though for the longest time I told myself they were small things and not a big deal. But they are a big deal, because I am a better person than that.
Today I am celebrating my birthday with family and friends. I'm another year older, and another year wiser. I also know there are lots of people waiting for me to prove that.
I am thankful for all that God has blessed me with in my life.
While his 4.83 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine was alarming, four arrests over the past two seasons is an even more disappointing number. He was arrested in Feb. 2012 for resisting arrest, underage drinking in June 2012 and twice for a suspended license, the first in Jan. 2013 and then Sunday.
All of his legal issues have been non-violent and probably excusable by NFL teams if isolated incidents, but four run-ins with the law in a 26-month period is a pattern of irresponsibility.
Wilder, who has a 1-year old daughter, flashed playmaking talent in his three seasons at Florida State with 20 rushing touchdowns over his career despite only two starts as part of the Seminoles deep backfield. He looks more like an athlete than natural running back due to his height, upright running style and lean, muscular build. Wilder is a freaky athlete with excellent body control to contort his frame and elude tackles, but his inconsistent pad level and suspect run instincts limit his effectiveness at the line of scrimmage.
Bottom line, Wilder has intriguing athletic talent, but not all those traits translate well to being an effective NFL back. Factor in the off-field red flags and evidence of immaturity and Wilder will be lucky to hear his name drafted at all.