Wilson cleared waivers Tuesday and has reverted to the Giants' injured-reserve list, per the NFL transaction wire.
"I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me, or pity me," said Wilson. "I lived my dream. A lot of people only get to dream their dream. I lived that dream. Now I have a chance to dream another dream and live that, too."
Wilson suffered a neck burner last week in practice. He was cleared to practice before training camp after undergoing a fusion of the vertebrae to repair his herniated disc this offseason. He was only able to play five games last season. The Giants will roll with Rashad Jennings, rookie Andre Williams and Peyton Hillis in their backfield. Wilson had been slated for a backup/change-of-pace role.
The team did not use the word "retirement" in their press release, but Wilson's message was clear.
"I'm thankful that I can literally walk away from the game and that I am healthy and capable of doing the same things I have done all my life, except play football. I always try to find the positive in everything," Wilson said.
"The whole idea for David is that he fulfilled his dream," said Coughlin. "Even though his career was cut short, he remains positive and believes God has a plan. He has accepted this in such a way that is a great example for all of us. There is no self-pity."
Wilson, the No. 32 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, was the rare athlete that made other players look like they were playing in slow motion. Fumbling problems, and, eventually, his neck injury, limited his playing time, but he was a breathtaking player to watch his rookie season, albeit in a limited role.
This news does not come as a huge shock following Wilson's injury last week, but it's also a stark reminder how fleeting NFL careers can be.