Make-A-Wish: Donovan Troy Update

Tags

, , , , , ,

DeSean Jackson, of the Philadelphia Eagles, sends his sincere congratulations to Donovan Troy, a 2020 high school graduate from Metro Atlanta, who matriculated at the University of West Georgia this week. Jackson states that he is extremely proud of Donovan’s accomplishments despite adversity; and, commends Donovan’s parents for the integral role they play. “Family is first and foremost in everything”, states Jackson, “including life in order for us to be empowered and fulfill our destiny”.

DeSean Jackson met the Donovan family in 2012 when the Make-A-Wish foundation honored a wish from Troy Donovan, a 10-year-old, to spend a day with his idol Philadelphia Eagles‘ wide receiver, DeSean Jackson.

One month after he was born, Donovan Troy was diagnosed with a life-threatening form of sickle-cell anemia. Donovan had to avoid situations that could exacerbate his condition, such as being outside in extreme heat, or even swimming. Football specifically was discouraged, especially after Donovan’s spleen was removed when he was a toddler. Donovan needed monthly blood transfusions. Contact sports could create serious complications. Donovan’s uncle, Cedric, was 32 when he died from the same condition. But Donovan loved football, and while his parents wanted to protect him, they also didn’t want him spending his whole life in hospitals. How the youngster from Atlanta became a fan of the thirteen-year wide receiver from Philadelphia remains a mystery to his family. “My husband and I were born and raised in Atlanta; so, we’re both natives, but he is not a Falcons fan at all,” Tara said. “He loves DeSean Jackson. He always talks about how fast DeSean Jackson is.”

Over the years, Tara Troy has continued to keep DeSean Jackson and his mother, Gayle, informed of Donovan’s accomplishments and also extended the unwavering support for DeSean. It began with Donovan’s wish and has developed into an “extended family”.

– Joie Adams, DeSean Jackson Foundation

Photo Credits: Tara Donovan, 08/2020.
Ee8c_dtXgAESDV8Donovan Troy (Center) 2020 KS Duke Foundation Honoree
DonovanDonovan Troy, University of West Georgia, 2020 Freshman Move-In Day

Diagnosed as an infant with a hematologic disorder, 10-year-old Donovan was told he wouldn’t be able to play sports. But he beat the odds, and his love for football and the Philadelphia Eagles made DeSean Jackson his hero, and his wish.

More About Make-A-Wish:
My Wish” is a collaborative effort with Make-A-Wish that chronicles the granting of unique sports-related wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Make-A-Wish® grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the United States and its territories, on average, every 38 minutes. We believe that a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us. It inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve.

Learn more about how you can help grant wishes at wish.org

djacc-new-image

When We All Vote: Join Our Voting Rights Call

Tags

, ,

DeSean William Jackson

DeSean William Jackson

This Thursday, August 6th, is the 55th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, which protected people of color from laws that created barriers to voting.

Civil rights leaders like Rep. John Lewis were critical to passing the Voting Rights Act after marching 50 miles from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to demand an end to voter discrimination against Black people. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the heart of the VRA resulting in states reverting to discriminatory practices restrictive to the voting rights of people of color.

On August 6th, to honor the anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the life and legacy of Rep. John Lewis, and the work ahead to make sure every eligible voter has equal access to the ballot box, we are hosting a Voting Rights Action Call at 8pm ET.

Join our Voting Rights Action Call this Thursday, August 6th at 8 pm ET/ 5pm PT. Until everyone can make their voice heard in every election, our work goes on. RSVP today and let us know you’ll be there! 

Voting Rights Action Call, Thursday, August 6th at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT; featuring voting rights experts from the Brennan Center and the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights

Our partners at the Brennan Center for Justice and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights will join us to discuss the critical work they’re doing to combat voter suppression and protect the voting rights of Americans in every election. We’ll also discuss the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and highlight resources and ways that you can take action to ensure safe and fair elections this fall.

With less than 100 days until the 2020 elections, it’s now all hands on deck. Whether you’re joining us for the first time or you’re looking for ways to level up your work in protecting the right to vote this election season — you won’t want to miss this call! RSVP now >>

Thank you for all that you do,

DeSean William Jackson, CEO, DeSean Jackson Foundation

When We All Vote

djacc-new-image

 

 

DONATE

 

DeSean Jackson Foundation Supports Black Doctors’ Covid-19 Consortium Testing in Philadelphia’s Marginalized Communities

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,


On May 25, 2020, DeSean Jackson, of the Philadelphia Eagles, and his charity, the DeSean Jackson Foundation, awarded a $5,000.00 NFL Foundation Players’ Social Justice Fund grant to the Black Doctors’ Covid-19 Consortium “BDCC”. BDCC is Philadelphia’s first mobile Covid testing site which was launched by Dr. Ala Stanford using her personal assets, a small grant from the CARES Act and a Go Fund Me Page. 

DeSean Jackson states that health professionals have rightly called racism a public health crisis and the Corona Virus pandemic has emerged as perhaps the most telling example of the impact disparities in healthcare in our nation’s history.  While more than 138,000 people in the United States have died from from COVID-19 roughly 18% of them are Black, though only 13% of Americans are Black.  Furthermore, in Philadelphia, Black people are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and have accounted for half of the 23,951 positive cases of COVID-19 and more than half of the 1,433 people who have died  from the virus as of June 10th, while the city’s Black residents make up about 44% of the population. Yet, the city has failed to focus on serving the crucial for testing in the Black community and many Black residents face barriers to accessing the city’s testing sites.  Therefore, DeSean Jackson deemed Dr. Ala Stanford’s Black Doctors’ Covid-19 Consortium a worthy recipient of the prestigious NFL Foundation Social Justice Players’ Fund grant for her social justice and humanitarian efforts.

 

APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Pennsylvania Daily Life

Dr. Ala Stanford administers a COVID-19 swab test on Wade Jeffries in the parking lot of Pinn Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

To date, Stanford and her Black Doctors’ Covid-19 Consortium have tested more than 5,000 residents at 22 triage-mobile testing events in partnership with Philadelphia’s Black churches.  Roughly 96% of those tested are Black, Stanford said. “This whole enterprise came from a life of being Black in America and having to wait, of people telling you, “Be patient, don’t worry, help is coming.  “I was tired of waiting for someone to save us.”  Stanford said it costs roughly $25,000 a day to test between 250 and 300 people and with no vaccine available for COVID-19 in the foreseeable future it is imperative that the city provide funding to sustain BDCC because #BlackLivesMatter.

Gayle Jackson, President, DeSean Jackson Foundation has been advocating for additional support for BCDD.  Gayle states that Dr. Stanford’s business model consists of the free COVID-19 testing, outreach to marginalized communities; and, a concierge-after care and wrap around service.  This meets a critical gap in services because the vulnerable population BCDD serves needs assistance when a positive diagnosis is received; and, access to healthcare and resources for those afflicted, their loved ones and support for the caregivers.  Mrs. Jackson  immediately reached out to Julie Hirsey, Director of Community Affairs, Philadelphia Eagles, when Gayle learned that a bid BCDD had submitted to the City of Philadelphia for $6.9 million in funding for testing from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention to expands its operations and perform contact tracing was declined. [Philadelphia Eagles’ also have a Social Justice Fund.]

DeSean Jackson said the issue of the rejection of the Black Doctors’ Covid-19 Consortium bid raised his awareness and social consciousness to the City of Philadelphia’s longer-term failure to develop and cultivate an effective W/MBE system. [Women and Minority Business Enterprises].  For instance, in the 2019 fiscal year, business enterprises owned by people of color were only awarded 36% of the city’s contracts, amounting roughly $254 million, according to the city’s Office Economic Opportunity 2019 report.  He advocated behind the scenes for a reversal of the city’s decision.

Status To Date:

On, June 9, 2020, Jim Kenney, Philadelphia Mayor, Thomas Farley, Health Commissioner; and, members of the City of Philadelphia City Council announced the commitment to provide funding to the Black Doctors’ Covid-19 Consortium during a news conference at Enon Baptist Tabernacle Church where BDCC was providing free Corona Virus testing.  The $1.3 million city contract will last six months with the potential to continue the partnership.


On June 11, 2020, Dr. Stanford and the Black Doctors’ Covid-19 Consortium entered into a partnership with SEPTA, the 6th largest transportation system in the United States, to provide free COVID-19 testing at four transit stations, in Philadelphia.  The partnership comes at a critical moment for SEPTA.  The 9,500-strong workforce lost seven colleagues to the Corona Virus; and, nearly 300 employees have tested positive for the virus.  While 60% of those afflicted have returned to work and new safety measures are in place, the region is in the midst of a re-opening that will increase risk for SEPTA employees.

– Black Doctors’ Covid-19 Consortium performing on-site testing at SEPTA. 

XXXXXXX

For More Information About:

DeSean Jackson Foundation:  Joie Adams,  deseanjacksonfoundationceo@yahoo.com

National Football League Foundation:  Please visit – https://www.nflfoundation.org

Black Doctors’ Covid-19 Consortium:

https://www.fox29.com/video/674593

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2020-05-03/the-black-doctor-covid-19-consortium-video

 


DeSean Jackson Foundation Supports Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project Covid-19 Relief Request

Tags

, , , , , ,

Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project Staff – Philadelphia, PA

On May 17, 2020, DeSean Jackson, of the Philadelphia Eagles, answered a plea from the Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP) a grass-roots, community-based initiative, in Philadelphia, for financial support to address the impact COVID-19 has made on its daily operations; and, the critical social justice and criminal justice advocacy it provides.

Sarah Morris, of YASP, stated that Covid-19 and executive orders required the staff to work from home; and, the subsequent #BlackLivesMatter protests made it difficult to get to the office because of the peaceful protests and street closures.  YASP was seeking a mini-grant for general expenses to sustain operations until they could return to their office.

DeSean Jackson agreed to award YASP funds from the 2019 NFL Foundation Players’ Social Justice grant for $5,000.00 that the DeSean Jackson Foundation received; and, DeSean also offered to meet with YASP in the future to learn more about their advocacy and how he may assist in furtherance of their mission.  Ms. Morris advised that YASP returned to their office on June 22, 2020 and provided a picture of the DJF check.

Advocates for Social Justice & Criminal Justice Reform

Sarah Morris, Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project

Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP) Mission:  Building a youth-led movement to end the practice of adjudicating and incarcerating young people as Adults.  Through its work in the Philadelphia jails, YASP provides space for incarcerated youth to express themselves creatively and to develop as leaders within and beyond the prison walls.  Young people who have been through the adult court system are at the forefront of YASP, leading the movement to keep young people out of adult prisons and to create possibilities for youth around the city.

YASP was a 2019 recipient of the Philadelphia Eagles’ Social Justice Fund grant for $10,000.  The fund was established in 2018 to provide grants to organizations that work to reduce barriers to equal opportunity, with a specific focus on education, community and police relations, improving the criminal justice system and other initiatives targeting poverty, racial equality and workforce development in the Greater Philadelphia area.  In just two years, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Social Justice Fund has provided area-based organizations with more than $858,000 in unrestricted general operating support.

For More Information About:

Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project: Contact  Sarah Morris, sarah@yasproject.com or visit website: http://www.yasproject.com

National Football Foundation:  Please visit website:  https://www.nflfoundation.org

NFL Foundation logo

 

 

Celebrating the Life of Ahquillez Afemata

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Afemata20Celebrating the Life of Ahquillez Afemata

Rest In Love, Prince Ahquillez Samurai Afemata

Post By:  DeSean Jackson Foundation, Los Angeles, CA

Photos & Media:  Exclusive Rights and Property of the Afemata Family

July 9, 2020

I extend my deepest sympathy to Peter and Sabrina Afemata in regards to the untimely death of their beloved son, Ahquillez Afemata.  Words cannot express the empathy and compassion that I feel for the amount of pain you are dealing with in regards to the loss of Ahquillez. It was a privilege to have Ahquillez on the Cali Bears, 10 U, tackle team; and, an honor to have been his coach. Ahquillez led a cherished, purposeful life and is truly loved.

I also extend my sincere thanks to Peter and Sabrina for embracing my vision of developing the most diverse youth football league in Los Angeles County where families and youth from Compton to Long Beach and their diverse cultures and ethnicity are embraced; and, given an equal opportunity participate, succeed and travel beyond the confines of their neighborhoods.

Last, I extend my sincere sympathy to Ahquillez’s Cali Bears’ team members and coaches. I am extremely proud of how you have supported the Afemata family & friends and remained united, “men of valor” and are committed to preserving Ahquillez’s memory despite the pain you are suffering for the loss of a beloved friend. I am proud to be your coach.

Rest in Love, Ahquillez

DeSean William Jackson, CEO/Founder, Cali Bears Youth Football & Cheer, Southern California King Conference, American Youth Football League

Afemata5

Amata Family 21

Afemata4

djacc-new-image

DeSean Jackson Partners With The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation To Donate $10,000 To Support Top Prospects Baseball, Inc.

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Philadelphia Eagles‘ Wide Receiver, DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson gives back to youth facility in Los Angeles where he learned to play baseball thanks to The DICK’S Foundation, Shock Doctor, McDavid, and Cutters

PITTSBURGH, PA /PRNewswire/ — The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation announced that it is awarding Top Prospects Baseball facility, in Los Angeles, a $10,000 Sports Matter grant in partnership with pro football player DeSean Jackson, an ambassador for United Sports Brands – parent company of Shock Doctor, McDavid, and Cutters.

The funds from the Sports Matter grant will be used to purchase new equipment and refurbish the organization’s fields where hundreds of inner-city youth athletes continue to learn to play baseball. A Los Angeles native, Jackson learned to play baseball with Top Prospects and is one of the most accomplished athletes in Southern California prep sports history.

“It’s really special for me to be able to give back to my hometown and help give kids the opportunity to play sports,” said Jackson. “I played a lot of different sports growing up, but most people don’t know that I almost played pro baseball. So much of what I do in football comes from what I learned in baseball, and that all started at Top Prospects.”

Jackson is the latest pro athlete to give back to his community via The DICK’S Foundation Sports Matter program, which has pledged to provide access to sports for one million young athletes by 2024.

“We’re thrilled to partner with DeSean Jackson and United Sports Brands to provide this Sports Matters grant to Top Prospects Baseball to help more kids have the opportunity to play,” said Aimee Watters, Executive Director of The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation. “Sports Matter was created because we believe playing sports make people better and we are committed to supporting all youth athletes in need, and this is just one way we are doing that.”

“We are honored to make this donation with DeSean Jackson and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation,” said Michael Magerman, President/CEO of United Sports Brands. “I’ve watched DeSean as a star on the football field for years, and to see him do this with an eye for the future of sports and young people in his community tells me a lot about who he is.”

Since 2014, DICK’S and the DICK’S Foundation have pledged more than $100 million to support youth sports teams and leagues in need. The Sports Matter program strives to increase awareness for the growing issue of underfunded youth athletics nationwide and provide much-needed support through equipment, uniform and monetary donations.

For more information on Sports Matter, visit SportsMatter.org.

About The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation
The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation is an exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with a mission to inspire and enable sports participation.  It was created by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc. as a private corporate foundation to support DICK’S charitable and philanthropic activities.

Contact DICK’S Sporting Goods: press@dcsg.com

About United Sports Brands

United Sports Brands is a global leader in sports performance and protective products designed to help athletes perform at their personal best. Brands within the portfolio include Shock Doctor, the #1 global leader in mouth guards and protection; McDavid, a performance and protective brand at the top of the recommended lists of pro athletes, sports medicine professionals and athletic trainers for more than 35 years; Cutters, the innovative leader in football gloves and high performance glove grip technology; and NATHAN, the running essentials market leader in athletic hydration, visibility and performance gear. United Sports Brands is also a portfolio company of Bregal Partners, a private equity investment firm. For more information, please visit www.Unitedspb.com.

Contact United Sports Brands: emiller@unitedspb.com

Contact DeSean Jackson:  deseanjacksonfoundationceo@yahoo.com

SOURCE DICK’S Sporting Goods

Related Links

http://www.dickssportinggoods.com

DeSean Jackson: Why He Does, What He Does!

Letter of Appreciation

Thanks to DeSean Jackson and Team Jackson!

My kids had a great time at the 2019 Inaugural DeSean Jackson Foundation F.A.S.T. Camp, in Long Beach, CA.  I mean my 7- year old caught a pass from an NFL Pro Bowler and the greatest deep threat in the history of the game!  I probably had the better time though.

I remember Desean helping me renovate property I owned,in Long Beach, when he was only 13 years old.  Then, to see him out there, at the F.A.S.T. Camp, being such an incredible host to these kids of all ages and ethnicity, working them hard while having a good time at the same time and really enjoying himself–It was AMAZING!

Then, the  camp instructors/coaches were not only providing excellent feedback and advice, they were all so engaging and having fun at the same time.  There was no wasted time – literally every kid got to be within inches of Desean Jackson, and it was AWESOME and competitive.  I just never anticipated such a well-orchestrated event especially when there are both kids and adolescents involved.

Furthermore, at the start DeSean Jackson told the kids that the only things he asks is that once they cross those lines onto the field, they give 110%; and, they DID!

Earlier in the day, I had showed my kids the Instagram that DeSean posted which read “They laugh at me because I am different. I laugh at them because they are all the same”. Things like that coming from a guy like DeSean really helps guide these kids in their journey to being solid young men.

The DeSean Jackson Foundation F.A.S.T. Camps are impressive, well-coordinated and organized.  DeSean is working his butt off making the rounds to various cities across the nation; and, having a great time.  He sets the mood for hard work and fun; and, at the same time giving the kids something tangible and substantive that impacts their lives.  Lastly, for this to be free of charge to all these kids was remarkable.

– Larry Guesno, Jr., Long Beach, CA

For More Information about scheduling a DeSean Jackson F.A.S.T. Camp, in your area, please contact:  Coach Gary Cablayan, garycablayan@yahoo.com

 

Philadelphia Eagles’ DeSean Jackson Donates $30,000 To California Youth Football Team

Tags

, , , , ,

desean-3 (1)Photo Credit: NFL

DeSean Jackson, of the Philadelphia Eagles, donated $30,000 to the Cali Bears Youth Football and Cheerleaders, an American Youth Football League (“AYF”), Southern King Conference, team, based in Los Angeles, in response to an appeal from the team to Mr. Jackson, for crucial funding to save the organization’s 2019 season. The Cali Bears Youth Football Team serves over 150 disadvantaged, inner-city youth, in South Central Los Angeles; and, was founded in 2018. Crucial funds were needed for uniforms, equipment, referee and venue fees; and, without these funds the entire season was in jeopardy.

Gayle Jackson, President, of DeSean Jackson Foundation, on behalf of DeSean Jackson and his foundation, presented the check to Leila Sedighan of the Southern California King Conference, Cali Bears Youth Football Team.

Cali Bears Check Presentation

As the DeSean Jackson Foundation’s president, Gayle Jackson emphasizes the importance of the foundation’s mission and goals. “The foundation was established in honor of DeSean’s father, William ‘Bill’ Jackson, who sacrificed his life to put his son in a position to do what he’s doing today,” Mrs. Jackson said.

Bill dedicated his life to building a structured foundation and deterrent against negative influences for DeSean by utilizing sports in his formative years. [Frequently, Bill had DeSean play for several teams simultaneously which required changing uniforms in the car between games.]

“DeSean gives back because my son believes, in his heart, that the reason he’s blessed is to be a blessing; and, DeSean also believes he is responsible for preserving Bill’s vision and instilled values to never forget where you came from and those left behind; and, sometimes that works to his detriment; but, he is indeed his father’s son.”

“That’s what the DeSean Jackson Foundation is about: Mentoring, empowering and building confidence in these young kids,” Gayle Jackson said. “To me, that can change a person’s life; and, that’s is what DeSean Jackson, the Philadelphia Eagles’ All-Pro wide receiver, has continued to do throughout his 12 years in the NFL.”

# # # # # #

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

American Youth Football, Inc., established in 1996, is a support services organization, dedicated to giving back to communities by promoting the wholesome development of youth through their association with exemplary adult leaders in the sport of American football and cheer. Guidelines are established to ensure that players play in an atmosphere of learning with a competitive balance between teams. Contact: Dee Graver, National Football Commissioner (602) 283-6006. https://www.americanyouthfootball.com/index.html

Southern California King Conference: Wilson Mays, Southern California King Conference, Commissioner (310) 251-3080.
For More About Southern California King Conference: https://www.sckingconference.com/home

Compton boys football program adds nutritional training table

DJACC New Image

2019 Philadelphia Eagles’ Opener: Jackson Family Photos

Tags

, , , , , ,

Post By: Joie Adams, DeSean Jackson Foundation
Photo Credits: Gayle Jackson

Philadelphia, PA, 9/13/2019

Philadelphia Eagles began their 2019 NFL season, at home, against the Washington Redskins, September 8, in a NFC East match up; and, a phenomenal homecoming for DeSean Jackson back to the Philadelphia Eagles and Lincoln Financial Field.

GAME DAY! GAME DAY TICKET

GAME DAY 10 The Jackson Family – Pre-Game – On the Field

DeSean Jackson‘s immediate family and a host of friends and fans traveled to Philadelphia to support DeSean during this monumental milestone in his personal and professional career in the NFL.

GAME DAY 5 Kayla, DeSean and Their Children

GAME DAY 7 Gayle Jackson and Eagles’ Mascot

GAME DAY2 Adreea (Jacksoon) Clay and her sons, Kameron and Jaiden (DeSean’s Sister and Nephews)

During the game, the Philadelphia Eagles came back to beat the Washington Redskins, 32-27, behind a classic “D-JAX, Cali Swag” performance: eight catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
With 31 career touchdown receptions of 50 yards or more, Jackson trails only Jerry Rice (36) for the all-time record. After his second score—for 53 yards—Jackson somersaulted twice, then found his teammates and shimmied in front of cameras.

Game DAY 4

GAME DAY 3 The Jackson Family Grandchildren

GAME DAY 6

Friends Family Friends: Ron White, Hattie Davis, Sheila Washington

# # # #

Has Eagles’ DeSean Jackson matured since Philadelphia cut him 5 years ago? Ask his inner circle.

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Zack Rosenblatt | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Updated Aug 7, 2019; Posted Aug 7, 2019
Repost by: Joie Adams, DeSean Jackson Foundation, Aug 17, 2019

zack article

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is back in Philadelphia and out to prove that he’s a different person than the one who was released by Chip Kelly in 2014.

It’s 6 a.m. The phone rings. It rings again. It’s DeSean Jackson.

Finally, half-asleep after a night out, Travis Clark rolls over and picks up the phone.

“It’s time to go,” the 15-year-old Jackson says. “Let’s go!”

DeSean Jackson repeats this early-morning wake-up call four more times. He rousts his brother, Byron Jackson, Darrick Davis, Irving Booker and Gary Cablayan, too. In less than an hour, DeSean and Bill Jackson, his father, are in a beat-up Mazda 300Z, driving to USC, UCLA, Venice High School or a park in Culver City, wherever they could find an open field.

This is the posse hand-picked by Bill, the people he believes will keep Jackson on the straight and narrow, get him to the NFL and, eventually, the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When his son was 8 years old, Bill Jackson told his son he’d be a Hall-of-Famer, and he meant it. Fast-forward 17 years to a recent midsummer day, and the five of them are meeting for lunch in Los Angeles to discus the person they affectionately consider a little brother.

Team Jackson
Team Jackson: Gary Cabalyan, Byron Jackson, Darrick Davis, Travis Clark, Irving Booker. Courtesy of the DeSean Jackson Foundation

“When we set out on this journey we didn’t brand ourselves,” Darrick Davis said. “We were just five guys pulling together to make this dude: a) get to the NFL, b) be a Pro Bowler; and, now c) get him to the NFL Hall of Fame. That was just our mission.”

Oh, they got him to the NFL, all right. He’s made three Pro Bowls, earned $75 million and has his sights set on the Hall of Fame and a Super Bowl ring. The ride here, however, hasn’t always been smooth.

Today, he’s back with the Philadelphia Eagles, determined to prove he’s not the same person he was five years ago when he was kicked to the curb amid rumblings that he had a bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, was late for meetings and butted heads with coaches.

Jackson, his family and “Team Jackson” insist that was a long time ago, that he was misunderstood then, and that he’s changed now.

In rare interviews, his inner circle spoke to NJ Advance Media about the impact of his father’s death in 2009, about Jackson becoming a father himself, and the impact the Eagles’ tough (but eventually forgiving) love had on their most explosive player. Also: why they think this time around will be different.

“They’ve [Team Jackson] been, my whole life, helping me every step of the way,” Jackson told NJ Advance Media. “Obviously, my dad created a team that was like a backbone. They train me, advance me with the game and how life is gonna be. It’s a brotherhood.”

DeSean-Jackson-Gang-STACK

Here’s the story of those five men.

Mad Scientist Work

Irving Booker still watches Jackson’s famous “Miracle at the Meadowlands” punt-return touchdown from 2010 on YouTube from time to time. Everything that happened on that punt return, Booker said, encompasses what Team Jackson taught Jackson from a young age — from his fumble at the beginning of the return, the cutback, juking past a defender, bursting through a sea of Giants and outrunning all of them to the end zone in the epic play.

“That encompasses all of us,” Irving Booker said.

DeSean-Jackson-Bound-STACK

DeSean Jackson and Irving Booker, Courtesy of STACK.

Byron Jackson (51 years old): The older brother emphasized finishing plays in practice. He helped with route-running, taking everything he learned at San Jose State while catching passes from Jeff Garcia, and from two seasons on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad, learning from legendary receivers coach Al Saunders.

Darrick Davis (51): A former defensive back who had a cup of coffee with the Atlanta Falcons, he connected with the Jackson family when he played with Byron at Santa Monica College — along with Booker — before he left for Long Beach State and Byron for San Jose. He was the mastermind behind many key decisions in Jackson’s football career, including sending Jackson to Long Beach Poly High and California-Berkeley.

cf4effb6d76dcd469af8f67ed7628f8d

DeSean Jackson, Darrick Davis, Gary Cablayan

Irving Booker (51): Booker brought cones to every training session to help Jackson with cutting, functional movement and injury prevention. He has a unique background too: “I used to break dance,” Booker said. “A lot of the moves in my mind’s eye when I was coming up with things (for DeSean) came from break dancing.”

Gary Cablayan (49): Cablayan and his father, Jerry, have trained Olympic sprinters. Jackson, as a child, challenged a Puerto Rican sprinter coached by the Cablayan to a 10-yard sprint. Jackson won. Gary has been training Jackson since. If he actually still runs a 4.3 second 40-yard dash like Booker claims, it’s because of Gary.

61259025_140507030348186_8699779788114502874_n

Gary Cablayan and DeSean Jackson

Travis Clark (50): A former defensive back in the NFL, he focused on the mental aspect of the game, keeping Jackson focused and fortifying his football IQ. He also could throw the ball 70 yards, and practiced deep balls with Jackson at every session.
“It’s us five who have done mad scientist work. Each one, in my eyes, is a genius,” Booker said. “One hundred percent. You can’t tell me anything different.”

Said DeSean: “It is a special bond. I appreciate them every step of the way, what they did. … They’re always calling, checking on me, still motivating me in knowing that, ‘Yeah, you’re a professional, but I’m still your big brother.’ That’s the relationship.”

DeSean’s mother, Gayle Jackson, and sister, A’Dreea Jackson-Clay, have played vital roles in DeSean’s maturation. It all stated with Bill, though.

“A Father’s Dream”- Bill and DeSean Jackson

“He was a genius,” Clark said. “We thought he was crazy. We thought he was off his rocker, but when you look back, you go, ‘Oh this man had a plan and his plan worked.’”

Along the way, the inner circle frustrated its share of coaches — Cal coach Jeff Tedford was especially outspoken, and then-Eagles coach Andy Reid warned DeSean Jackson on draft day about letting his family get involved with team affairs. But ultimately the plan worked.

Bill Jackson just didn’t live long enough to see it through.

Life After Bill Jackson

When DeSean Jackson moved to Philadelphia, his father was with him. For most of DeSean’s life, his father was by his side.

“They were inseparable,” Cablayan said.

His father was his best friend who pushed him to be great. He was there when his son debuted in the NFL, starting against the St. Louis Rams to open the 2009 season.

His first play was an incompletion. The second: A 48-yard catch from Donovan McNabb. Jackson finished with 106 yards, the Eagles won 38-3 and Jackson’s career took off. He had another 100-yard game in Week 2, making him the first receiver to open his career with two straight 100-yard games.

He helped the Eagles reach the postseason, and they beat the Minnesota Vikings in the first round. During the following week, as the Eagles prepared for the Giants, Bill Jackson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was bedridden when the Eagles met the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game, watching on a small hospital TV in California, surrounded by his family and Team Jackson.

Bill cheered as his son score on a 62-yard touchdown pass from McNabb in the fourth quarter of a loss. Father and son spoke on the phone afterward. His father told DeSean that he played a great game, and that he was proud of him.

DeSean cried.

By April, Jackson had moved his dad to a hospital in Philadelphia, where he died in May.

“It was tough on all of us,” Davis said, “but DeSean, there were periods where every single day DeSean was with Bill. Every single day. … There wasn’t a moment where DeSean said: ‘I haven’t seen my dad in weeks.’ No, it’s, ‘I haven’t seen my dad in 15 minutes.’

“So once he got to the league, Bill was there dealing with what he had to deal with. It was pretty traumatic. It’s hard to put into words because I know he dealt with a lot of …” He stopped for a moment. “I’m getting a little choked up just thinking about it,” he said.

***

That off season, DeSean started the DeSean Jackson Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer to honor his father, and it was at their first charity event where they all agreed on the Team Jackson name. (Jackson Five was thrown around, too.)

When their father died, Byron took a leave from work and lived in Jackson’s basement during that 2009 season. His death provided extra motivation for Byron to start work on a documentary — “The Making of a First Rounder: The DeSean Jackson Story” — in which Bill was an important character. That process was therapeutic, he said, watching film of his dad — the good, the bad, the ugly — over the course of DeSean’s life.

Some nights DeSean would hear Bill’s voice in his sleep, pumping through his air vents. When he’d wake up, he would realize it was Byron, logging footage for the documentary on his computer.

“Our dad had a strong, aggressive voice,” Byron said. “He was a loud talker and he was very authoritative, he screamed and yelled a lot. I would watch footage and DeSean would wake up up in the middle of the night like, ‘Man, I can hear it.’”

“Just replaying all the tape, then talking before the games it was like: Dad is with you.”

Byron thinks it’s no coincidence that Jackson, at least in his eyes, had the best year of his career that season.

“I was there when his dad passed and … it was a real emotional year,” said Jason Avant, a former Eagles receiver and DeSean’s teammate for all six years he was in Philadelphia. “His dad was everything to him. His dad was the catalyst for the player that he is.”

Jackson had five 100-yard games, scored 11 touchdowns — two on punt returns — and completed his first 1,000-yard season.

On Dec. 29, Jackson received a call to tell him he had been selected to the Pro Bowl as a wide receiver and punt returner, the first player in NFL history to make it at two positions. He dropped the phone, ran to his brother and jumped into his arms. Then, he turned to a camera, filming for Byron’s documentary, and said: “Pops, man, I love you. You knew.”

The Pro Bowl that year was on Jan. 31 — Bill’s birthday. He would’ve been 65.

“The night before the game, there was this halo around the moon,” Byron said. “It feels like to me when he’s on that football field, our dad had so much involvement in DeSean’s life, it’s almost like with football, DeSean is at one with Dad.

“Just seeing DeSean’s success, it kept our Dad’s spirit alive.”

He Left With Vengeance On His Mind

It’s the middle of June, and Jackson is Face Timing with his two kids and their mom, Kayla. He misses them. Jackson is back in Philadelphia, working with his new teammates for mini-camp, but his family is in Florida, where he spent the last few years playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He wishes he could be there with his boys, DeSean Jr. 4, and Jace, 1. Putting them to bed. Carrying them. Taking day trips to the beach. Laying on the floor, laughing and watching “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” on PBS, or maybe reading them a book. Jackson is 32 and, a father of two now, and he’s more of a homebody.

No, really, he is.

“DeSean off the field is very low key, very quiet,” Davis said. “You wouldn’t believe it. He’s very low key and he’s not confrontational. Him being a dad … he relishes that role.”

This isn’t the same 27-year-old who was cut by ex-Eagles coach Chip Kelly after, statistically, the best season of Jackson’s career in 2013. Jackson had a reputation for partying, tardiness and general immaturity to go along with the off-field concerns. The release was a wake-up call, the moment when Jackson went from being a football player to a professional football player, his team says.

“I think it became a job after he got let go,” Cablayan said.

When Bill passed away, Team Jackson gave him space to let him grow on his own.

“You have five guys who pretty much raised you your whole life, and now you’re a man,” Byron said. “We gotta sometimes take a step back and let him be who we trust he’s going to ultimately become. It’s been a balancing act. We haven’t always done or said things you would script. You still wanna be there for them, but when they come around and are ready to make the right decisions, you’re always going to support them.”

team-jackson

Jackson admits now that he was immature the first time around.

“When I was younger, I had the world at my hands,” DeSean said at his introductory press conference in March. “Coming into the NFL as a rookie and having all that success early in my career, it was kind of hard to get a hold of that at a young age, you know? But you have to go through things in life in order to mature.”

Ultimately, though, the release became a turning point in Jackson’s maturity. Washington D.C., is where DeSean Jr. was born. Jace was born in Tampa Bay.

“He had started to mature, but it’s hard when you’re that age and your friends are around you (and they are) younger and want to do things that young people do,” Darrick Davis said. “Now, with his time away (from the Eagles), having kids, all those little things make you see life differently.

“The whole Eagles thing, getting turned away from them was a harsh reality. He left with vengeance on his mind.”

I’m Going To Tell You Guys … Just Be Careful

It was Week 2 in Tampa Bay last season and the Eagles were in town. DeSean Jackson always had a little extra for his former team, and few players have killed the Philadelphia Eagles over the last five years as Jackson did with the Redskins and Buccaneers.

On the first play of the game, Jackson beat cornerback Jalen Mills, caught a quick pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick, slanted across the field with Mills tailing him, then juked back the other way for an easy path to the end zone and a 75-yard touchdown.

Jackson pointed to Eagles coach Doug Pederson. He said, “You never should have let me go,” Pederson recalled.

“I was like ‘I wasn’t even there! I wasn’t even there!’” Pederson said, laughing. Pederson, an assistant on Reid’s staff from 2009-12, wasn’t around when Jackson was cut.

They reconnected after the game, too, and it was here that the seed was planted in Jackson’s mind — he wanted to return to Philadelphia. One reason: He really wanted to play with Carson Wentz.

Jackson led the league in yards per catch (18.9) for the fourth time, but the Buccaneers went 5-11, missed the playoffs, fired their coach and Jackson was ready for a change. He hadn’t played in a playoff game since 2015 with Washington. He pushed to be traded in the off season. He hoped it would be to the Eagles.

Ask Pederson, general manager Howie Roseman or even owner Jeffrey Lurie, and they’ll tell you there wasn’t much internal debate about that idea when he became available — it was a no-brainer, Pederson said.

“You’ve gotta have guys like (Jackson) on your team,” Pederson said. “You gotta have guys with a little edge and guys that get a little pissed off from time to time. That’s a healthy thing, too. And guys with fire, guys that want to win – and that’s obviously what he wants – that’s what we all want.”

They wanted him back. All it took was a sixth-round pick and a new three-year contract.

So far, it seems to be going well. Teammates and coaches alike have raved about his work ethic, his leadership. He’s been on time for meetings. He’s spent extra time with Wentz on the field and in the film room. He participated in OTAs in May, even though they were voluntary. In between, he’s even found time to host two free youth football camps — one in Philadelphia, one in Long Beach — while also delivering food to the Philly homeless community, and visiting local schools to talk about his journey.

Adreea Clay

A’Dreea Jackson-Clay, DeSean Jackson, and Team Jackson: Byron Jackson, Travis Clark, Irving Booker, Darrick Davis, Photo Courtesy of DeSean Jackson Foundation

In May, after the death of rapper (and friend) Nipsey Hussle — fatally shot in Los Angeles — he spoke at Latin Charter School in West Philly, and talked about gun violence, growing up in tough neighborhoods, and living in the Crenshaw district “where all people know is Crips and Bloods,” he said, via ESPN, adding that he had a decision to make as he ascended to the NFL: “hang out with my homeboys that’s just killing, that’s robbing, that’s selling drugs” or try to make an impact on the community using his platform as a football player.

“You get to a certain point where you feel comfortable,” Jackson told the students, via ESPN. “You’ve got everybody praising you for what you do and where you come from, sometimes you let down your guard. I’m going to tell you guys here today: just be careful.”

Unfinished Business

Sunday, Jackson returned to Lincoln Financial Field for the first time since he was cut. In front of a crowd of 40,000 Eagles fans, he received the team’s largest ovation. It might be even louder in his pre-season debut on Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans.

This is the final stage of Jackson’s career. Since he was drafted in 2008, only five receivers (Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Brown, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall) have more than Jackson’s 10,261 receiving yards. He’s outlasted all six of the receivers drafted ahead of him. He’s one of the best deep threats in NFL history.

And now he has his sights set on the Hall of Fame, the last leg of his father’s plan.

Now it’s up to DeSean Jackson to see it through.

“He’s all in,” Byron said. “People don’t know, but it was hard for him to watch the Super Bowl and not be with the team. It was hard for him the way he left Philadelphia. He’s an emotional player. Coming back to Philly, it’s going to be an emotional year … the fact that (the Eagles) were the team that our father got to see him on, and now he’s back … he has some unfinished business in Philadelphia.”

Zack Rosenblatt may be reached at zrosenblatt@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ZackBlatt. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

# # # # # #

ABOUT TEAM JACKSON

For more information about Team Jackson, please contact: EVO Sports Training, Long Beach, CA, (888)-386-4140, or visit the following website.

Home

evo-sports-training-300x300