Kwamie Lassiter was an Arizona Cardinal when Adrian Wilson was drafted by the team in 2001.
Also a safety, Lassiter was a teammate of Wilson's for two seasons before leaving as a free agent. Yet, while he was only around for the beginning of Wilson's Cardinals career, Lassiter very much understands the impact his former teammate made.
"He's turned into a vocal leader, he's turned into a leader that shows ‘just watch me,'" Lassiter told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo Friday. "But that guy was always Cardinals first. It wasn't about Adrian Wilson first."
Wilson spent the last 12 years with the Cardinals but was released Friday, as the team elected to part with the 33-year-old five-time Pro Bowl selection. The move does not necessarily come as a surprise, as Wilson has clearly declined, but that does not mean the move is any less difficult to come to grips with.
"He had a great impact on changing the dynamics of what they wanted to do as far as an organization," Lassiter said. "And you can build around a guy like Adrian Wilson."
Speaking from experience, Lassiter said it's easier for players to succeed when they join a team led by a professional like Wilson. So in a way, the Cardinals being able to move on from Wilson is somewhat because they had Wilson in the first place.
"Guys coming into the league, it's a great benefit when you can come to a veteran team that you can learn from and learn how to play the game," he said. "I think (Darnell) Dockett and Calais (Campbell) and all those guys learned from Adrian.
"They understood this guy's passion that he wanted to go out there and win and wanted to change the face of the organization."