The Cincinnati Bengals’ front office is going out of its way to honor members of the team’s past as part of the club’s 50th anniversary celebration. That includes the 50 Bengals ranked as the team’s best-ever retired players, a group being referred to as the Bengals First 50.
One of those players is former defensive back Solomon Wilcots, who came in at No. 40 on the list. Wilcots spent four years with the Bengals including the 1988 Super Bowl season. In his Bengals career, he accumulated 3 interceptions (one of which came in the playoffs), 3 fumble recoveries and 1 sack. After leaving the Bengals he played one year with the Vikings and his final year in the league with the Steelers.
“I was humbled, I really was. Because if you take 50 years, all those players, I don’t know that I’m one of the best 50,” Wilcots told Cincy Jungle of his inclusion in the First 50 ranking. “There’s some really good football players. But if the fans and media fell I contributed in some way by the way I played, the way I carried myself, and the way I represented the team and town. If it’s about that, I’m humbled. I was fortunate.”
The Bengals haven’t done anything of this sort in a very long time, if ever, and Wilcots thinks it’s great that some of the team’s best ever players are getting recognition. He also thinks banners in the stadium honoring the team’s brightest stars would go a long way.
“I think very highly of Mike Brown and the Bengals. There’s no doubt, I’d love to see a banner with Anthony Munoz’s name hanging in that stadium and a banner honoring what Kenny Anderson did for this organization for so long.
“Kenny was one of the great players who played for the Bengals for so long. He was a phenomenal player and if it wasn’t for the Steelers, who knows what he’d have accomplished in this league,” Wilcots said. “He’s one of the great players and Bengals.”
Anderson ended up winning a Super Bowl as a quarterback coach for the Steelers in 2008, when they won Super Bowl XLIII in February 2009.
Tim Krumrie, who Wilcots recalled as “one of the greatest teammates you could have,” Isaac Curtis and Ken Riley were three other players who Wilcots spoke of as deserving recognition for their contributions to the Bengals’ franchise.
“Ken Riley was one of the greatest players to play in the league and he played for the Bengals and still holds franchise records. I just think there’s so many guys who have done so many great things,” Wilcots said. “When people come into that stadium they should know that those guys helped build that organization.”
All former players included in the First 50 will be invited to return to Paul Brown stadium to be honored at a home Bengals game this season. Wilcots does plan to attend and embrace the honor.
“I will attend. I don’t know which game it is, but I definitely plan to be there and take part in the festivities,” Wilcots said. “I never would have dreamed that anything like that would be happening for me. Just to be one of those 50 guys who that the team says ‘you represented us well.’ I’m humbled and highly appreciative.”
Throwback Thursday has me hanging with my boys Eric Thomas & Ickey Woods. All 3 blessed to make Bengals First 50 list pic.twitter.com/EBP1O75KRI— Solomon Wilcots (@SolomonsWisdom) July 21, 2017
Since 1994, Wilcots has worked in broadcasting, first as a sports anchor for WLWT in Cincinnati from 1994-2003 and then as a Sunday Night Football sideline reporter. Most recently, he's worked at CBS as a color commentator, a role he held from 2001 until early this spring. After 16 years calling NFL games for CBS Sports, Wilcots will not be in the broadcast booth this season. He’s taking a different approach now in what he refers to as his “later years”. Instead of talking about NFL players, he’s turned his attention to those in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries who are creating and providing innovative health treatments.
“I’m now working for a public relations firm that’s based in New York and I’m the leader in our Sports-Health Alliance,” Wilcots explained. “What we do is instead of publicizing or promoting great athletes, we’re promoting the work that’s being done by biotech and big pharma companies that are providing innovative treatments.”
Instead of spending his time speaking of and hyping up guys who are throwing record-breaking touchdown numbers, Wilcots has shifted his focus to those providing services for people needing medical help, such as those with CTE and Alzheimer’s disease.
“I kid with many of these CEOs and doctors who are providing services for so many patients, we don’t know their names, but if a guy throws 30 touchdowns in a season, we promote them,” Wilcots said. “I’d like to think in my later years, I can help promote those who provide so much to our society.”
It’s great to see Wilcots finding success outside of the NFL and after not calling any Bengals games in 2016, he’s sure to receive a warm welcome in his return to Paul Brown Stadium this season.