Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Rick Cleveland: Appreciating Gabe Jackson

Gabe Jackson, underrated for much of his football career, just became appreciated for how good he really is.


Here's appreciation: The Oakland Raiders have agreed to pay him $56 million over the next five seasons. That's $11.2 million per year. That's $933,000 per month, $700,000 per regular season game.

That's also $164,706 per pound, which is a lot even considering that Gabe Jackson, from Amite County by way of Mississippi State, weighs 340.

Yes, the Oakland Raiders appreciate Jackson, the 25-year-old human bulldozer, once considered either a two-star or three-star college prospect and a player who lasted until the 66th pick (third round) of the NFL Draft.

All his career, until now, Jackson has been underrated, and to hear him tell it, that's never bothered him one bit. Gabe Jackson is as unassuming as he is large, and he stands 6 feet, 4 inches and has arms the size of most people's legs.

We caught up with Jackson over the weekend in Los Angeles where he was attending a teammate's wedding.

“That's always been fine with me,” Jackson said of playing for so long out of the limelight. “It's always made me hungrier to succeed, especially when I knew what I could do. It has made me work harder.”

•••

Jackson's father, The Reverend Charles Jackson of Mizpeh Full Gospel Church in Magnolia, has always known his son – Gabriel, he calls him – had a chance to be special. And Rev. Jackson, a former Mississippi Valley State football standout, coached his son in high school at Amite County High School.

“I knew Gabriel's potential,” Rev. Jackson says. “I knew he had the ability and the size. I coached for 31 years and coached a lot of great football players.”

But the elder Jackson also knows that uncommon size, strength and ability don't always equate to greatness.

“I've had two other offensive linemen that had that same kind of potential,” Rev. Jackson says. “Drug addiction got in one of them's way and he couldn't beat it. The other got his shoulder hurt and was never the same. I am thankful, number one, for what the Lord has done for Gabriel.”

Rev. Jackson wondered why the various college recruiting rating services didn't rank his son higher. And he says he was shocked “when Gabriel didn't go in the first round of the draft, because he should have.”

And that's what makes the father so proud of his son now.

“All it did was push him to work that much harder, become that much more aggressive. I knew how good he could be. Mississippi State knew how good he could be. And Gabriel knew how good he could be. Now, I think everybody knows.”

•••

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, for certain, knows how valuable Gabe Jackson is. When Carr recently signed a five-year, $125 million contract, he reportedly left some money on the table. Carr, according to his brother, told the Raiders to use the extra money to secure Jackson to a contract of the same duration.

And that's just what happened.

“Derek told me a long time ago, that's what he wanted to happen and he would do what it took,” Gabe Jackson says. “That's the kind of player he is. He's an unselfish, team-oriented guy.”

Perhaps, but Carr also knows where his bread is buttered. He knows who has got his back – and his front – for that matter. As bodyguards go, Gabe Jackson is about as good as you can have.

And now, he is being paid like it.

Rick Cleveland is a Jackson-based syndicated columnist. His email address is rcleveland@mississippitoday.org.

6 comments:

By Way Of said...

Had Gabe Jackson played as a Black Bear no doubt Cleveland would have waxed fondly for at least a paragraph or two about his playing days at the TSUN.

Anonymous said...

Gabe is big, tough, physical, and smart. He takes coaching very well. And he keeps his mouth shut. A real football player.

Anonymous said...

9:50 - Where did he play?

Wow said...

Mississippi State.

Anonymous said...

Never heard of them.

Anonymous said...

Rick was an Ole Miss homer when he worked at the Clarion Liar so I would not have expected anything else from him. Gabe was and is a great Mississippi State football player no matter how much Rick played it down in the article.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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