BY: ED COLE
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Edwin Jackson’s relationship with the Arizona Cardinals couldn’t have started out on worse terms. He was scheduled to fly out from his hometown of Atlanta, Ga., for a visit with the team prior to them signing him, but somehow he missed his flight, which as everyone knows, is one of the worst experiences a human being could ever have.
“The first thing I did was (sit) down, took a deep breath, and I called my mom. I said, ‘Mom, I missed my flight,’ she said, ‘Oh Lord.’ I said, ‘Mom, you gotta make some pound cakes,’” Jackson said.
And thus began the legend of Jackson’s nickname “Pound Cake.”
Jackson’s mother made her famous pound cakes from scratch. For even greater effect, she individually wrapped them for all the coaches.
“When I got here, the coach was like, ‘You know you’re the guy that missed the flight right?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m sorry, I apologize,’” Jackson said.
The coaches joked around with Jackson and told him he owed them something for missing the flight. Boy, did Jackson have something to make up for his missed flight.
“I’m a southern gentleman. It’s disrespect to show up late. That’s (how) I was brought up,” Jackson said. “When I gave it to them – the pound cakes – they understood that, hey, this kid, he has a great family. I didn’t hear about that missed flight as soon as I gave them the pound cakes.”
“You always have to be prepared, but sometimes you slip up, but it’s all how you respond to it,” Jackson said. “So (those) pound cakes (were) thrown in the oven, shipped over here, and when they opened (them), they were still warm. You could still see the steam coming out, trust me.”
What a way to endear yourself to your coaches if you’re a guy like Jackson, who’s fighting for a roster spot, along with 15 other linebackers.
Jackson will get his first taste of NFL action on Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium, as the Cardinals play host to the Kansas City Chiefs. What Jackson’s hoping to impress upon his coaches is that he’s got limitless energy and passion for the game of football, which he’s already shown them time and time again during training camp.
“Every time I get on this field, I just want to show everybody this is a great opportunity,” Jackson said. “I’m blessed to be here. I’m representing my family, my school (Georgia Southern), (and) everybody that has put in for this big opportunity. I love this game, and I hope when you watch me on film, you really see that.”
Jackson is thousands of miles away from his nuclear family, so it was important for him to come to Arizona and develop an extended family, which he found with the Cardinals.
“This is my home when I move away from my immediate family,” Jackson said. “Just coming in, (and) being taken in as a brother, and learning that I have a role on this team, I take full advantage of that. As far as knowing the plays, yeah you’re gonna make mistakes, but you gotta have that faith in your brother just like he has faith in you to learn. That passion comes from love from one another in the brotherhood, and having love for the game.”
Training camp has been running for a few weeks now, and as it’s moved along and progressed, so has Jackson. He can feel himself getting stronger and stronger and more intrenched in Arizona’s defense.
“Oh man, it’s a lot. These coaches, strength conditioning coaches, linebacker coaches, everybody here is on one accord, and everybody’s putting their all into it,” Jackson said. “Trust, loyalty and respect (are) the top thing(s) we learned when we first got here. You have to be able to trust somebody to get in that playbook, and have that loyalty for one another, and respect for this game, (and) respect for your organization. Just coming in, (and) being taken in as a member of this family is amazing. I just want to give my all into it.”
There’s a lot of people out there that will look at Jackson, and they’ll try and find a way to break him down, and give 1,000 reasons why he shouldn’t be in the NFL, whether it’s because of his size, or the school he attended, or the fact that he wasn’t drafted and he had to take a side road to make it to Cardinals training camp. That’s all well and good to Jackson. He’s not worried about what people say about him, because the faith he has in God will see him through any person and any obstacle that tries to stand in his way.
“When I sign my autographs, I put faith right beside it, because it means a lot,” Jackson said. “Understanding and believing in the unknown is something I was raised with, being a very spiritual man, a Man of God. Knowing that you won’t be able to see everything, sometimes you won’t see anything, but having the faith of a mustard seed, you can go a long way, and you can move mountains.”