Any fan of American football will easily know Muhammad Wilkerson as he is one of the most popular players in the football industry. The professional American football player got into the National Football League (NFL) in 2011 after he was drafted by the New York Jets. Seven years later, he joined the Green Bay Packers as a defensive end, signing a one-year, $5 million deal.
Born on October 22, 1989, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the defensive tackle attended Linden High School in his hometown of Linden, New Jersey. There, he played both football and basketball. As a result of his performance in football during his junior season, he was named to the All-Watchung Conference first-team. He was selected to the Home News Tribune all-area first-team and Newark Star Ledger all-Union County second-team.
The Linden native spent one year at Hargrave Military Academy after high school before he was admitted into Temple University, where he played football for the school’s team, Temple Owls. He played 13 games as a sophomore in 2009, starting all of them and recording 58 tackles and 6 sacks. At the end of his junior season in 2010, Muhammad Wilkerson made 68 tackles and 10 sacks and was subsequently, named to the first-team All-MAC selection and the team defensive Most Valuable Player.
Although analysts initially described Muhammad as “a sleeper selection”, his positive result at the NFL Combine and at Temple’s Pro Day session made them change their minds with NFL Network analyst, Mike Mayock, projecting him to be a first-round prospect.
He was eventually selected in the 2011 NFL Draft by the New York Jets in the first round (30th overall pick). He signed a four-year deal worth $7.4 million with the franchise on July 31, 2011, and on April 18, 2014, the team picked up Muhammad Wilkerson’s fifth-year rookie contract option worth $6.96 million.
He signed another five-year contract with the team in 2016. The deal worth $86 million featured $53 million guaranteed and a $15 million signing bonus.
As a result of some bad behaviours from the player, including showing up late or missing team meetings, which could no longer be tolerated by the Jets, he was released on February 28, 2018.
Two weeks after, he signed a contract worth $5 million with the Green Bay Packers.
Muhammad Wilkerson’s Family Details
The popular football star was born to Janice and Alvin Wilkerson, both Muslim faithfuls. The couple is divorced but Wilkerson and his father have always been close. According to the player, his father was always in and out of jail for 20 years and his absence was felt in the family.
Also, Muhammad Wilkerson is the closest of his siblings to his mother. Their bond is so strong that they text each other daily, sending along virtual hugs and well wishes for the day ahead. In the year 2000, when the mama’s boy was only 10 years old, he thought he would lose his mom after she was diagnosed with cancer (extensive ductal carcinoma in situ) but today, she is a survivor.
The star defensive end refers to his mom as his source of strength and his bare biceps is a testimony to his mother’s strength. Tattooed in blue ink on his right arm is a large breast cancer ribbon and within the ribbon is the word “Ka’idah”, his mother’s Arabic name. Of a truth, it only takes a strong woman to take care of four children and keep the family functioning like the player’s mom did while his father was incarcerated. She worked three jobs at the same time and drove him from Jersey to Nashville, Tennesse so he could play basketball in middle school.
For all her sacrifices, Mohammad Wilkerson is eternally grateful to his mother and always clinches every opportunity he gets to show her some love and appreciation. He bought her a car and also sponsored her lifelong dream of taking a trip to Mecca.
He has three siblings named Haseez Brown (brother), Zakkiyah Wilkerson (sister), and La Quan Brown (brother).
In March 2012, the Linden native became a father, welcoming a baby girl named Heaven. Two years later, on May 26, 2014, he welcomed his second child, a son named Muhammad. Despite having kids, the identity of the woman (or women) who birthed them is not known. It is also not known whether he is married to the mother of his kids.
Muhammad Wilkerson is a force to reckon with on the defensive line of any team he plays for. This is largely attributed to his impressive height, bulk, and speed in addition to his high football IQ. He is known for his ability to break and dodge tackles and he possesses a rare combination of brute strength mixed with nimble athleticism. The player is 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) tall and weighs 315 lb (143 kg). His arm length and hand width are 35 1⁄4 inches (0.90 m) and 10 inches (0.25 m) respectively.
Other Interesting Facts
The athlete was the fourth Temple player to be drafted by the Jets.
Wilkerson took the 81st spot on Forbes list of the World’s Highest-paid Athletes in 2017 with a salary/winnings of $22 million.
He made his professional debut on September 11, 2011, in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
In 2018, Wilkerson will earn a cap hit of $4,887,500. This comes from a $1,600,000 base salary, a signing bonus of $1,500,000, a roster bonus of $1,112,500 and a workout bonus of $300,000.