Things have not always been easy for Lamar Jackson and his family as the quarterback’s dad died when he was just eight years old, per the Courier-Journal. Lamar Jackson Sr. died when he was 31 years old and on the same day that his grandmother passed away as well. Lamar referenced this tragedy during his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech.
“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,” Lamar said, per UPI.com. “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.”
It was the family’s faith that guided them through the dark days, and it is part of the reason Lamar has a special relationship with his mom, Felicia Jones. Felicia encouraged him to get the Bible verse Mark 6:4 tattooed on his forearm, per South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” [New Living Translation]
Lamar Jackson Sr. Died in a Car Accident
Lamar Sr. died in a car accident on the same day the quarterback’s grandmother passed away. Sports Illustrated noted that it is a day the family does not discuss much publicly for obvious reasons.
Jackson has said his father died in a car accident when he was 8, and on that same day his grandmother died, too. Jones told him then not to cry, that they would do better and amount to something. And that’s the extent of Jackson’s public comments about a defining moment in his life.
Lamar Jackson’s Mom, Felicia Jones, Fought for Her Son to Play Quarterback
Felicia has always been protective of her son, especially after his father passed way. One of the many ways Felicia looked out for her son was insisting he remain at quarterback when he got to college. Some schools saw Lamar’s speed and athleticism as inspiration to move him to one of the skill positions. ESPN detailed Felicia’s recruiting demands and how Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino was able to land Lamar.
He got Jackson by making a promise to Jackson’s mother that the major in-state recruiters weren’t making: Louisville would never, ever move her son to receiver or defensive back. After Jackson’s father died when Lamar was young, Felicia Jones raised him on her own and fiercely protected his quarterbacking dreams.
Felicia’s fight was worth it as Lamar has become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Lamar has the Ravens looking like one of the best teams in the NFL and the Baltimore quarterback is a favorite for the NFL MVP award.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Lamar Jackson’s grandfather passed away. It was Jackson’s grandmother that died on the same day.