Jerry Brown, Jr and teammate, Josh Brent, probably never in a million years thought a late-night decision would change the course of their lives on Friday night, but it did. Today, Brown is dead and Brent sits in jail because one decided to drive his car after a night of drinking, and the other went along for the ride. More information will come out over the next few days and weeks, but today, we remember the life of Jerome “Jerry” Brown, Jr.
Brown was born on October 20, 1987 to Dujaun and Stacey Jackson, in St. Louis, Missouri. Like many little boys, he began playing football at the age of six. At Vashon High School, Brown, defensive end, earned All-American, first-team All-Metro, and Public High League defensive MVP (twice.) His statistics include: 97 tackles, 13 sacks, and one interception. He was recruited by several colleges, but chose to attend the University of Illinois. While in college, Brown redshirted his 2006 season, played in 13 games in 2007, and 11 games his final season. He recorded 13 total tackles and 2.5 sacks.
In March of 2011, he signed with the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League. Later in the year, he signed with the Hamilton-Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League. He also played for the San Antonio Talons in 2012. His big break came in May of 2012, when the Indianapolis Colts picked him up. He would only play in one regular season game against the New York Jets. A former Illinois teammate, Brent, defensive player for the Dallas Cowboys, rallied to get him on the Cowboys roster. They befriended each other quickly and had hoped to one day be on the field together. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Cowboy’s practice squad.
“Jerry spent the whole offseason with us. He was a regular part of our rookie class, with (quarterback) Andrew Luck and (tight end) Coby Fleener, We had a number of different charity events, and Jerry was always a willing participant when we introduced players to the city, including at Riley’s Children’s Hospital.” Indianapolis Colts senior director of communications, Avis Roper.
This was a senseless tragedy and we will never know what the future held for this young man. It is absolutely heartbreaking that this could have been prevented had they just called a friend or used a taxi service. Hopefully, this will be a lesson to everyone who hears about Jerry Brown’s short life. Many prayers for his family and his unborn baby girl. May God give them peace.