A week ago tragedy struck the Indianapolis Colts when linebacker Edwin Jackson was killed by a drunk driver in Indiana.
Jackson, 26, was killed along with Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe, who had pulled the car over on the side of the highway when they were struck and killed by drunk driver, Alex Cabrera Gonsales.
The tragic deaths of these two men quickly became a political scrum, with Trump and other Republicans using it as ammunition against certain types of immigrants and social fodder in support of a border wall, while immigrant rights activists were forced into defensive mode by the fear and ignorance spread by the former parties. But the Colts refused to partake in this political battle, instead choosing to rightfully honor both men, and take care of their own.
Today they did just that as family, friends, teammates, coaches and others from the Colts’ family expressed their support at the service for Jackson, which was held in his hometown of Atlanta. This included former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and team general manager Chris Ballard, who both offered their words in celebration of Jackson’s life.
Its truly a blessing and an honor to be here today, to pay respects to Edwin Poundcake. said Pagano. “Poundcake. Ill never forget the first time he came to (the Colts facility) West 56th and he sat down and (I) said, I just have to know where you got the name, Poundcake. Can you explain to me, please? I know that Arizona picked up the Cardinals picked up Edwin in 2015 as a free agent, and I know that circumstances had it where I think he mightve missed his first flight and was a little bit tardy he was never tardy with us at the Colts, I can tell you that. So I guess mom made some poundcake to take back with him, just to get in the good graces of coach (Bruce) Arians and the rest of the Cardinals organization. It mustve been some really good poundcake. From the day that Edwin entered West 56th, that smile, that amazing smile God, could he light up the room and the energy and passion and fire and juice and love and determination and drive and dedication seeped out of this young man. And when you go back and you do some research and you find out exactly where Edwin came from, and how he got to our place, and what he overcame and what he went through a walk-on at Georgia Southern and had to earn his way, and as a free agent in the National Football League and had to earn his way to becoming a starter in the National Football League (applause) and playing a game that he so dearly cherished and loved.
Edwin was full of gratitude and he was full of life. He lived full. Every single day every single day we got nothing but energy and passion and grit from this young man. And Im blessed to stand here today and tell you what an honor and privilege it was for me to be his coach one of his coaches. To the Jackson family I pray that God will be with you, take care of you and comfort you and bring you peace and understanding. We often ask why why Edwin? Why now? Why so young? A lot of mystery surrounding that. Really, mystery isnt the absence of meaning but the presence of more meaning than well ever be able to comprehend in this lifetime. And I know something great something really, really good is going to come from this (applause). And I know Im a better man, father, husband, coach and friend because of Edwin. I will miss him dearly. Thank you.
Ballard echo those sentiments with his own heartfelt comments on Jackson.
Ive probably known Edwin the least here, a year, but about my third day on the job, theres a young man who comes up with his bright smile and introduces himself. And everyday he introduced himself, to make sure he knew that I knew who he was.” Ballard said. “One day he came down to my office and we had a long talk about where were going, what are we doing? You know, footballs not going to last forever. It doesnt. It ends for all, whether its in junior high, high school, college or the NFL, and I started to ask Edwin, Where we going? Whats our next step? And he got a big, bright smile on his face, and we talked about school, and how we were going to finish, but he thought he had more to do; he had more to do in the league. He had a platform, he had platform to serve others, and he was tremendous in that way. He was one of our more active guys when it came to serving our community.
About two weeks ago he came to my office; he had a tough year. When a players injured, its very difficult on them. They dont feel like theyre part of the team, they dont feel like theyre cared about, and its hard. Its a lonely life when youre an injured player, and I always made sure that I stayed in touch, that (he) knew that we cared, that our organization cared and cared about him. And he came to me about two weeks ago with something else on his mind, he says, Chris best Ive felt. Best Ive felt, but my back. My backs hurting. I said, Edwin, I said, Lets get it checked out. And we did, and everything was good. And he was excited about the future going forward, and we were excited about him. Thats why Sunday was such a great shock. It changed me. It brought us together. I spent all Sunday and Monday pretty much feeling sorry for myself. Without David Thornton, I dont know if I wouldve gotten through those two days and without the Jackson family. You inspired me to treat people differently, because tomorrows not promised to any of us (applause). He was a special young man, and I was very fortunate to have gotten to know him. But hes not gone. He is not gone. The impact he made on our organization, on our players, on our coaches, on our scouts, is tremendous. And that will live on. It will live on, and he will always be a Colt. Thank you all.
The team also announced the creation of the Edwin Jackson Memorial Scholarship, which, according to the team’s site, “will honor Jacksons life and legacy and will be awarded annually to a qualified student applicant.” Colts’ owner Jim Irsay gifted $25,000 towards the scholarship and the team will work with Jackson’s family over the next few months to create the scholarship and its guidelines.
Edwin was such a wonderful young man and was beloved by his family and friends across the country, especially by his Colts family here in Indianapolis, said Irsay. We are all better people for having known him, and we already miss him so much.
This scholarship will honor Edwins memory and his determination, work ethic and character. My family and the entire Colts organization are proud to have been associated with Edwin, and we are honored to help continue his legacy in the future.
The Irsay family has created a memorial scholarship in honor of Edwin Jackson. Help us keep his legacy alive: https://t.co/FHIVeHpCkM https://t.co/w9f5t6LxvL
Teammates also took to Twitter to express their condolences and honor their brother.
Fly high53. Your headed to a better place. Go up there and be the best LB on the team. That team will never lose. Keep that same energy chasing down WR everyday like at practice. Gone but not forgotten!
Irsay had previously announced that he would pay for the funeral expenses for both Jackson and Monroe. In a situation like this, where lives have been lost and families had been devastated, its good to see that the team isn’t playing politics but instead stepping up and doing the right thing.