EM – CB Jackson draws from memories of deceased friends

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Buffalo Bill’s cornerback Dane Jackson pays little attention to questions about the challenges he is facing as he prepares to take on Treâ ???? Davious White’s starter job in secondary school.
AP File Photo

ORCHARD PARK – Dane Jackson pays little attention to questions about the challenges he faces as he prepares to replace Tre’Davious White in Buffalo Bills Secondary School.

The cornerback in the second year only needs to point to his left arm where the initials D, D, D, R are tattooed in honor of four friends from late childhood. He does it to show the emotional pain he was overcome in winning this opportunity, knowing that this is how it could have ended if Jackson had chosen another path and the importance of bringing it in not to let the memory down.

If Jackson failed on Monday night when the Bills (7-4) gave the New England Patriots (8-4) first place in the AFC East on the line, he would also represent him personally when he played De ‘Von and Diondre Dozier failed. Domanek Cabbagestalk and Ricky Giles, who were among his greatest soccer supporters who grew up on Pittsburgh’s greenway projects.

The Dozier brothers and Cabbagestalk were shot and Giles died in a car accident while being police for a period was followed for four years, from Jackson’s senior year in high school to his junior year in Pitt.

“I’ve faced a lot of adversity, so it’s no different. You have to be strong willed and deal with anything that comes in your way, ”he said.

“I’ve lost four of my closest friends back to back. At some point, some people may want to give up, ”he added. “But that just made me push harder and I wanted me to be more successful. So I just use that as fuel for the fire. ”

The fire Jackson enters replaces White, Buffalo’s top defensive player, who will miss the rest of the season after beating himself on a 31-6 Thanksgiving victory in New Orleans had a torn ligament in his left knee. White is a five year old starter and an integral part of a Bills secondary school that ranks second in the league behind New England with 16 interceptions.

White’s injury also comes at a crossroads in the Bills season as the Team slips 3-3 in the AFC standings in the last six games.

Jackson is a seventh-round draft pick in 2020 who has only played 128 of Buffalo’s 705 defensive snaps this year and his third career start after standing up for Josh Norman and Levi Wallace last season.

As much as coordinator Leslie Frazier cannot quantify how big White’s loss is, he has faith in Jackson.

“Things are not getting too big for him,” said Frazier. “We saw it in his rookie year when he sometimes had to step in and play in some difficult situations, and even in the game on Thursday night. He’s got really good posture and a good feel for the game. ”

Jackson made a splash on his debut last year by intercepting Sam Darnold in the last minute of the second quarter at Buffalo 36. The turnover resulted in Buffalo hitting a field goal to reduce the New York Jets ‘lead to 10-6 in the Bills’ eventual 18-10 win. He also had the top eight tackles of his career and recovered a fumble on his second start, a 32:30 loss in Arizona.

“He knows the system. He trusts the guys around him. We keep telling him he’s not alone out there, ”said security guard Jordan Poyer. “He doesn’t have to do anything other than be Dane Jackson.”

Jackson hasn’t changed much in his routine other than sharing notes with White about what everyone in New England sees in feature films. He also takes advantage of a missed opportunity this summer when he failed to beat Wallace for the grid.

“Probably the biggest thing I learned was that there is just more to do. Maybe I wasn’t ready for this position, ”he said. “When that happened, I was working on these areas to make sure things like this didn’t happen again.”

When Cornell High School gave up football after his freshman year, an agreement was made that allowed him to To play in Quaker Valley, 5 miles away, across the Ohio River. It was here that Jackson went on to become a two-sport star in basketball and football, and caught Pitt’s attention in 2013 when he played quarterback and led the school to its first playoff spot in 14 years.

Football was a ticket to Jackson from the projects, and he wondered how things could have been any different if his late friends had stayed with the sport.

“They kept telling me, ‘Bro, I’m so happy you still play football’ and ‘We wish we could have,'” said Jackson.

“I can’t regret the same. I don’t want to say, ‘I wish I could. I wish I could. ‘I want to live in the moment,” he added. “If I had let it pull me down, it would be like I was a different statistic.”

Jackson credits his mother, Joy Faulkner, with the support and strength she has instilled in him. And he always keeps his deceased friends in mind where they’ll be before Jackson takes the field on Monday.

“When I say my prayer before the game and everything,” Jackson said, “I make sure I do talk to them and ask them to take care of me. ”

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