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May 7, 2011

Eagles C, Jamaal Jackson Interview

by Max Strauss
85 JJ

Jamaal Jackson played college football at Delaware State, and then, he entered the 2003 NFL Draft, but was actually undrafted. He quickly signed a FA contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was their starting center from 2006 through 2009. He is also known to be the longest tenured Eagles player on their roster. He has played in 88 games in his entire career. This interview was conducted before the 2011 NFL season.

Download the AUDIO with Jamaal Jackson, right-click this.

Check out Jamaal Jackson’s website at www.CenterStage67.com
Check out JR on Facebook and check out JR’s website at www.nflagentjr.com

Announcement : My name is Max Strauss with http://prointerviews.org/, http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/ and http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. I’d like to welcome you to the interview with Jamaal Jackson. Jamaal attended Delaware State University and was a late round prospect entering the 2003 NFL Draft. He went undrafted. He signed with the Eagles after the draft, and has remained a member of the team since then. He has played and started 72 games at center in his eight-year NFL career. Here is the interview with Jamaal Jackson and I hope you enjoy the collages also. Make sure to read below for answers to read his answers to the personal questions.

Strauss : How do you connect with your fans?

Jackson : Right now, just through twitter and through my actual site. [http://centerstage67.com/] It’s up live, but I haven’t really given it out to anybody just because it’s in it’s final stages. It’s not quite done yet. When it is done, I’ll throw it around on twitter. So mostly, people can come to the site and follow me there as well.

Strauss : What would your last meal on earth be? [Check out more answers to more of his personal questions below.]

Jackson : My last meal on Earth would have to be… that’s kind of tough man. I’ve never really thought about my last meal on Earth… It would have to be something that I could gorge myself in. I’m lactose-in tolerant, so I’m not really supposed to eat ice cream, so it would be like a twenty-foot bowl of ice cream with just cookie dough and Oreos, and all that stuff mixed in. I’m a fat guy, so it would be something very unhealthy. I’m going out anyways, so I might as well… you know.

Strauss : What was your high school football experience like?

Jackson : My first year of organized football was my sophomore year of high school. I played Junior Varsity my sophomore year. To be honest with you, I didn’t even to go to high school to play football. My health teacher kind of introduced me to it. He thought I had good thighs. He told me to come try out, and I tried out, and the rest is, as they say, is history. It was great. I wouldn’t say I had fun because I was still young. I remember that I didn’t know where I was going. It taught me how to work hard at a young age, and how to train in intense weather because it’s always hot in Miami. It was a very good teacher as far as the experience I’ve learned as far as football goes.

Strauss : Why would you attend Delaware State if you are from Miami, Florida?

Jackson : It was educational purposes, because like I said, when I first started playing, I didn’t know anything about scholarships or going to school for free, and having the ability to play football that would help further your education. I didn’t know much about the SAT and ACT. I took that my senior year, like after football season. That shows you how much I was involved with that. When I first started playing, I thought it’d just be something to do since I had the time in high school. But, it ended up turning into something different. I was actually kind of good at it. I ended up being the top five rated recruits for offensive lineman in the state of Florida, and I was a first-team All State and All-American. I was all that stuff. I had no idea I could use that to further my education like getting a scholarship. I fell short on my test scores. I had grades, but I just wasn’t prepared for the tests. At the time, my friend was an alumni at Del State, and oddly enough he played center for Del State. He told me that it would be a great opportunity. I always wanted to get out of the state of Florida and leave Miami just because I didn’t grow up on South Beach. It was kind of rough growing up in the neighborhood I grew up in. I wanted to see that. And, I did. So, that was the reason for me to go to Delaware State.

Strauss : What is your favorite memory from Delaware State?

Jackson : In 2000, we were the number one team in the MEAC that year. We were against North Carolina A&T. We were down eighteen points with like four minutes and forty-eight seconds to go in like the fourth quarter, and we came back and won. I remember it was like yesterday, we literally scored like twenty-one points in four minutes.

Strauss : What was your draft day experience like?

Jackson : Nerve-racking. I mean I kind of knew that I wasn’t getting drafted on the first day, but towards the sixth and seventh round. Some teams had me a sixth round grade, others had me at a seventh round grade. I mean, it didn’t happen. That whole second day which probably lasted like eighty six hours in my mind. Fortunately after the draft had ended, I got a call from Juan Castillo, the former offensive line coach who is now the defensive coordinator, and he asked me, “Do I want to be an Eagle?” I was like “Sure!” I came up, and there’s that story.

Strauss : Do you remember your first training camp at all?

Jackson : Yes I do. Down in Lehigh. I would say it was probably the hardest thing I have had to football-wise in my life. There is nothing that will you prepare for coming to practice, or waking up at seven every morning, and going to bed at eleven fifteen. Nothing really prepares you for that because Training camp in the NFL, at least how we do training camp with the Eagles is like one of the hardest. It’s probably one of the hardest camps in the NFL, it makes you mentally prepared for the grind of the season. I understand his method with that. And, that helped. But, that was probably one of the hardest experiences I’ve had to deal with as far as football goes.

Strauss : How much impact did Hank Fraley have on your career?

Jackson : A lot. I learned how to be a center and leader of the huddle, and a leader of the line because of Hank. I just watched him the years that I was there. I was just trying to take everything that I could. I just tried to be a sponge while I was around him. I asked him a whole bunch of questions, just watched him at practice about how he conducted himself, how he held himself in front of the media, and at meeting rooms, just being vocal. He really helped me out a lot. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I would be as successful as I am playing center just because I had such a great teacher in front of me.

Strauss : Your first two years there, you didn’t get much playing time. The second year you were there, the Eagles went to the Super Bowl. What do you remember about the Super Bowl?

Jackson : Two things about the experience in Jacksonville… that was the year we had Terrell Owens and Jevon Kearse. That year it wasn’t were we going to win, it was how much were we going to win by? That’s how confident the team was that year. We had a quarterback playing out of his mind football-caliber. Of course, we had Terrell Owens and Brian Westbrook. We had an offensive line that was jelling. Our defense was amazing. We had everything going for us that year. I just remember every Tuesday and Wednesday it was pretty much an off day for us because we were that dynamic.

Strauss : Do you have a favorite memory with the Eagles throughout your career?

Jackson : I wouldn’t say favorite, but my most memorable moment had to be my first NFL snap. Ironically enough, it happened in a penalty, my first snap under center, I got a false start. It was a monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys, and my first start. We were walking up to the line, and then, I false start. (laughs). That’s probably one of the only things that I remember. It always pops out when people ask that question in what is your most memorable, you always remember your first play.

Strauss : What were you told when you got back into the huddle after that snap?

Jackson : ‘Just relax.’ You got that one out of the way. You got to pass. Let’s keep moving. After that, we settled down, and the butterflies went away. In the NFL, that first series is important. That first series in every game is always nerve-racking, and that’s when everyone is all anxious. You’re trying to feel the other team out, and see what they’re going to come with as far as scheme goes, and it was fun. I had a blast.

Strauss : You have a younger brother Jervonte. How often do you talk with him and what advice do you share with him?

Jackson : I talk to him a lot, although he plays on the other side of the ball and has a different role, he’s a defensive lineman. I just try to tell him to keep his head up because he  has had a chance with the Eagles, bringing him in for the rookie camp. It didn’t work out for him, and he got released. I just told him that he can’t give up. He’s been in a couple teams down in Detroit, also with Jacksonville. He has a little bit of experience with the NFL. Hopefully, he’ll try to get back in it. I talk to him all the time and tell him that he’s got to keep working. Sometime, something is going to pop, and you’re going to be there for the long haul, and just whenever they call your name and number, he just has to be ready.

Strauss : Do you have a foundation?

Jackson : Actually, I don’t at the time. I’m trying to develop one and it’s in the phases right now. I’m trying to develop a foundation for diabetes awareness just because my mom was a diabetic and I think it’s important to get the word out to get people’s sugar levels monitored, and to just get tested for it because you never know you can land up in a hospital and not know why. That’s one thing that I’m real adamant about, and hopefully I can get it off the ground before the season starts.

Strauss : Will you please reflect on your surprise appearance on the TV show, ‘The View’?

Jackson : ‘The View’ was a humbling experience. Just to see the kid’s reaction when we came out, DeSean [Jackson] is his favorite football player, and for him to give the kid the jersey off of his back… I think that was better than any game he could have attended, he probably could have never gotten as close to him. This is his role model, a guy who he looks up to, so he did a favor from favorite football player. I was their for support. It was humbling and I jumped on that opportunity because on most cases like that, you don’t hear of them. It happens, but nobody ever talks about it, nobody does anything about it. That was a feel good moment, but also a humbling experience.

Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?

Jackson : Any ice cream flavor… I would be… I mean I’m lactose… (laughs). I don’t know I’d probably be… like a chocolate caramel mix. I don’t know. I’d be chocolate with caramel swirls in it. Because, the exterior like my arms get real dark over the summer, but the like the parts that are covered are real light.

Strauss : For someone who wants to play in the NFL, what’s the best advice you can give them?

Jackson : If you want to play… Play! Basically, don’t let nothing or nobody tell you what you can not do. You’re going to get a lot of nay-sayers especially in this league, because it’s always thought that the bigger, stronger, faster player is the guy that is going to make it in the NFL. When, after all, that’s not necessarily true. You have guys like Danny Woodhead and Danny Amendola, like these are some small guys. They are from small schools and they’re making big impacts. It doesn’t matter what school you went to, or how big you are, or how strong you are, if you really want to make it, you’ll make it.

Strauss : Thank you so much for your time Jamaal! I really appreciate it!

Jackson : Alright, no problem man.

Announcement : Thank you for listening to the interview with Jamaal Jackson. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you leave your comments below as well! Please check out my website http://prointerviews.org/ for other interviews, “LIKE” the Facebook page at http://facebook.com/ProInterviews/, and follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/ProInterviews/. Please subscribe to me on YouTube at http://youtube.com/ProInterviews/ Thanks again for listening! Stay tuned for more, and feel free to contact me!

->Here are the personal questions that Jamaal Jackson answered.<-

Strauss : If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?

Jackson : If I could meet anyone, it would be President Obama. I just think he’s an influential guy in our society. He’s our leader. He’s our President. He’s the first African American President so kudos to him for being the first ever black president, and I think that’s a monumental achievement. He’s doing all he can to try make this economy and the United States of America a better place to live. He would probably be the one person that I haven’t met yet, that I would like to meet, but if we win the Super Bowl, I’d probably accomplish that.

Strauss : Who was your role model when you were growing up?

Jackson : It would have to be my mom. She did a lot for my brothers and me growing up. She was a single mom. She had to take care of us alone by herself. Of course, she had family helping her and what not, but my father wasn’t in the picture like that. She was battling a disease, now it’s under control. She was a Type-2 Diabetic. She was my role model growing up.

Strauss : If football didn’t work out for you, what was your plan?

Jackson : Actually, get a job like everybody else, from nine to five, hopefully working in the school systems, and eventually being like a coach maybe in high school or college. I developed a lot of connections back at Delaware State [the college I attended], and I met some people there, that I’ve built a relationship with, and they helped me along the way while I was in school, so it would probably be something in education as far as the whole football thing.

Strauss : Why do you want to coach in high school or college?

Jackson : I like the development and learning stages. I think it’s important that you get these guys at a young age so you can still influence them as far as working hard, and earning things, instead of things being given to them. I think you could do when they are 16, 17, or 18 year olds.

Strauss : What is your favorite TV Show?

Jackson : Right now, it’s called, “Being Human” on SyFy. It on Monday Nights at 9. I’m kind of into the whole werewolf, vampire, ghosts, and spirits-type stuff.

Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?

Jackson : It would have to be, “V for Vendetta”. A guy runs around wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, just getting back at people. It’s pretty awesome.

Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie?

Jackson : Of course! Sweet potato pie. I mean I’m from the south. I love a good sweet potato pie.

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