Fall 2021 SS Magazine

LB Logan Wilson leads strong Bengals defense as he honors friend with Joshua 1:9 tattoo

Logan Wilson is quickly establishing himself as one of the defensive leaders on the Cincinnati Bengals. In just his second year with the team, the former University of Wyoming star has already been entrusted with the radio helmet to relay plays to the team — the quarterback on the defensive side, you could say.

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The Bengals are off to a 3-1 start, due in large part to Wilson and the rest of the defense. Wilson, who plays middle linebacker, is second in the NFL with three interceptions, and tied for fifth in the league in tackles with 40.

He was similarly productive at Wyoming, where he was named Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year, then later a second- and first-team All-Conference player. He finished his college career with 421 tackles, fourth in Mountain West Conference history.

Through all those tackles, he noticed the wrist bands he wore to honor a friend kept falling off. Brooks Anderson, the son of Wilson’s high school coach Josh Anderson, tragically lost his life five years ago when he was just four months old, to what Anderson said was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Shortly before he was drafted, Wilson decided to not to risk losing the wrist bands each game anymore and just make a permanent statement with a tattoo on his upper-right arm featuring a cross with “Joshua 1:9” written below it. He also mentions the verse in his Twitter bio.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9

“I only want to get tattoos that mean something,” Wilson told Bengals.com. “Faith and family right now … all we understand is that no matter where you go, no matter how far it is away from home, like being out here is far away from home, the Lord is always with you.”

It’s a reminder for Wilson to persevere and that no matter what trials life brings, God is always near.

During his first year at Wyoming, Wilson was going through some things of his own and his relationship with Anderson continued to grow, even though he was no longer playing for him, as they comforted each other over the loss of Brooks.

“When we had our tragedy, he was a magnet over at our house,” said Anderson, who coached Wilson at Natrona County High School in Casper, Wyoming. “He was texting and calling and checking in. Any time he was in town he would be there for hours and hours on end. He played such a major role in our lives. He didn’t wait for us to ask. We’re so thankful for him interjecting himself in our lives. When we would go to church and share, Joshua 1:9 will be the scripture that always pops up. It’s one of those things, it’s just too much to deny.”

Josh and his wife, Jamie, have gone on to have two more sons, and have made the Brooks Joshua Foundation their primary cause. The foundation raises money for the national SIDS effort and a number of scholarships. A total of 14 $2,000 college scholarships — as part of the “Books From Brooks” scholarship fund — have been awarded to local high school seniors.

Wilson made it his cause for the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” week last season and then sold his shoes for $1,000. He also raised $5,000 while streaming on video game platform Twitch and another $1,200 at a silent auction.

A third-round draft pick in 2020, Wilson is quickly emerging as a bright young talent in the league. But Anderson said the same work ethic and humble mindset that earned him a scholarship to Wyoming, when few schools were recruiting him, hasn’t left. Wilson still takes photos with anyone who asks and gives what he can — on and off the field.

“I try not to make too much of it. I just want to do what I was drafted here to do,” Wilson said. “I’m a team guy. If it means (like last year) coming in and contributing or (like this year) playing 70 snaps, whatever it is. Whatever the team needs. That’s just kind of my mindset.”

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