Lamar Jackson’s mother, Felicia Jones, knew her son had what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. Lamar opted to choose a different path during the NFL draft process by having his mom represent him instead of a traditional agent. There was some skepticism over whether it would work, but Lamar ended up being selected in the first round by the Ravens with No. 32 pick.
When Louisville tried to use Lamar as something other than a quarterback, head coach Bobby Petrino received a call from his mother. Sports Illustrated’s Jonathan Jones detailed the exchange.
Seemingly minutes after practice had ended, members of the coaching staff got a call from Jackson’s mother, Felicia Jones. Head coach Bobby Petrino had lured Jackson to the Bluegrass State with the assurance that the freshman would be a quarterback and only a quarterback. Punt returner doesn’t look like quarterback, Jones said. She reminded them all of the promise Petrino had made to her and her son while sitting on a couch in their South Florida home. Jackson never went back for a punt return in practice again.
According to the Courier-Journal, Lamar’s father passed away when he was eight, leaving Felicia to raise Lamar and his brother, Jamar. It was on the same day as Lamar’s grandmother also passed away per Sports Illustrated.
Learn more about Lamar’s mother and family.
1. Lamar Did Not Hire an Agent & His Mother Served As His Manager During the NFL Draft Process
There was some confusion during the pre-draft process on Lamar hiring an agent. It had been reported that his mother would be acting as his agent, but Lamar cleared things up in an interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
“Lamar Jackson told me that his mom is not his agent, ‘she is my manager’ and he added ‘I represent myself.’ Jackson told me he does not think an agent is necessary with the current rookie scale for initial #NFL contracts,” Josina tweeted.
Lamar opted not to sign an agent, as he did not want them to take a cut of his first contract. He told Denver 9News’ Mike Klis he did not hire an agent, because he did not want them to “take a cut of my paycheck and I feel I deserve it.”
2. Lamar Calls His Mom the Best Coach He Has Ever Had
Lamar penned an article for The Players’ Tribune describing how he was introduced to football. Lamar detailed the workout regimen that he used to do with Felicia when he was growing up in South Florida. He noted the best coach of his career was his first coach, his mother.
A lot of people helped me get better when I was young, but the best coach I’ve ever had was also my first one: Mom. And I’m not saying that just because she looked out for me and encouraged me to pursue football and all that stuff. I mean she actually made me grind to get better.
I grew up in a town called Pompano Beach, and there was a big bridge by our house. My Mom and I would run on it just about every day. Didn’t matter how hot it was. We’d go back and forth, and then back and forth again. And let me tell you, Mom was in shape! I’ve never played in a football game that was more tiring than those long runs on that bridge.
After we ran, we’d go into our backyard, put on equipment and start hitting — me, my younger brother and my mom. Now she was never like trying to put a lick on us or anything, but we’d all run through drills together. We bonded that way. Thinking back on it, imagining my mini self in a three-point stance blocking Mom, it’s kind of hilarious. But she knew what she was doing. She had a vision for my football career even before I did.
3. Lamar Gave an Emotional “Thank You” to His Mother During His Heisman Trophy Acceptance Speech
After a breakout 2016 college campaign at Louisville, Lamar won the Heisman Trophy. It is no surprise that the first person he thanked in his acceptance speech was his mother as UPI.com detailed.
To my mother…oh my God, I’m just happy to be here. I’m sorry man. I wasn’t nervous at first because I didn’t know who was going to win this award, but to be up here, it’s great. It’s crazy man. These guys are great. I’m just happy right now. But back to my mother. She put so much into me, like I said before, losing my father and my grandma on the same day. It hurt me. I wanted to cry real bad, but my mom was the real soldier, because I was going to be the baby, the female that day. But she told me, ‘Lamar do not cry,’ and I’ll remember that for the rest of my life. So every time when certain things don’t go my way, or this and that don’t happen, I just own up to it and be a man about the situation. And Mom, I love you so much.
4. Felicia Played Football With Her Sons
Felicia was quite an athlete herself and used to play football with her sons. Lamar recalled his mother’s affinity for multiple sports.
“People don’t believe me,” Lamar told ESPN. “She was an athlete. She used to play basketball. She saw what we were able to do, and she’d go back there and play football with us. She was just making us tougher because she’s older, so she’s bringing power that we’re not used to feeling. We didn’t take it like anything different.”
While Felicia may enjoy sports, she prefers not to do interviews. Felicia enjoys keeping the spotlight on her son and his play on the football field. Lamar Thomas was a Louisville assistant that helped recruit Lamar. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, he explained Lamar’s relationship with his mother and why Felicia is reluctant to speak with the media.
It’s not that she’s trying to—in my opinion—control him. They’ve been through a lot together. For them to want to stay together and try to do this thing together, that’s the way they’ve always been. They’d just rather the play do the talking.
You’ve seen parents before in these ordeals where they try to be the spokesperson, whether it’s [LaVar] Ball or [Todd] Marinovich’s dad a long time ago. That’s not her deal. Can you blame her? If she was one of those people who was trying to put herself in front of all this, you’d say, ‘Oh here we go.’ But it’s not like that.
5. Lamar’s Dad Died From a Heart Attack When He was 8 Years Old
According to the Courier-Journal, Lamar’s father died of a heart attack when Lamar was just eight years old. The Courier-Journal detailed some of the confusion that has centered around his father’s death.
The quarterback told The Courier-Journal last month that his father died of a heart attack. Previous media reports have stated he died in a car accident, but there is no case for him in the Broward County Medical Examiner’s office, meaning his death would have been from natural causes.
Jackson said he doesn’t have much memory of his father’s death and doesn’t dwell on it much now that he’s a grown man himself. He said that when his dad was living, he was a ‘father’s boy.’
Lamar noted he began to grow closer to his mom after his father’s death. Now the two are inseparable, and a big reason why Lamar is in the NFL.