Wilson gets clearance to return to NFL from neck injuries

Former Denver Broncos linebacker Al Wilson, who sat out the 2007 season because of neck problems, was cleared to play the 2008 season by Los Angeles back specialist Bob Watkins.

The 30-year-old Wilson is a free agent and able to sign with any team that is interested. A five-time Pro Bowler, Wilson is considered an ideal middle linebacker in a 4-3 scheme because of his leadership and ability to line up teammates before plays.

During the 2007 offseason, the Broncos traded Wilson to the New York Giants for a middle-round draft choice. The trade was voided when Wilson failed the team physical because of his neck problems. His rights reverted back to the Broncos, who eventually released him.

Wilson's neck problems started in 2003 when he suffered some stingers. He went to Dr. Watkins, who advised him to rest until the neck was better. On Wednesday, Watkins, who is normally conservative in allowing players to return with neck problems, informed Wilson he could resume his career.

Without Wilson, the Broncos had one of the worst defensive seasons since Mike Shanahan became head coach.

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.