INDIANAPOLIS — This Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts will celebrate the life of one of their own.
On Feb. 4 — the morning of the Super Bowl — tragedy struck when linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver, Jeffrey Monroe, were struck and killed on the side of Interstate 70 in Indianapolis.
After an offseason of reflection, and with the regular season now upon us, the team will formally honor Jackson. His family will be in attendance, and the Colts will make a $25,000 donation to the Edwin Jackson 53 Foundation. The players will be wearing an "EJ" helmet sticker, and the coaches will be wearing a pin with the same design.
For the Colts, there is much more attached to this Sunday's contest against the Houston Texans than would be a usual game.
Here is what some of Jackson's former teammates had to say about the man affectionately known as "Pound Cake."
"Matthias (Farley) said it best when speaking on Edwin, in just the way Edwin carried himself, we can all learn from that. The way he was positive, the way he played the game with passion are all things we can learn from and honor Edwin by doing those things and playing that way."
"Edwin had a big impact on obviously myself — we were very, very close — but (also) everybody in the building and the organization. The game's the game; at the end of the day there's always going to be something week in and week out that you can focus on more. But I think this week it's very important for us to put on a good showing, as it's a divisional opponent, but it's also a lot bigger than that just because of Edwin and his family being here and honoring him in the way we we play."
"Honoring Edwin, that's huge. A guy that I know, and some of the guys know, that was always a spark, a joy. I'm pretty sure he's up there smiling, looking down over everyone. It's gonna be a big game. We just go out and we've gotta win this one. Someone (Farley) got up today and spoke on Edwin's behalf and spoke about him, and that was very powerful — just to give a little piece about Edwin. So, that helped out a lot for the guys that don't know him. But just the guy he was, everyone can benefit from that."
"Many more than one Edwin Jackson memory. I think one of the great nicknames, "Pound Cake." He was a happy, happy, happy man. He was a joy to be around. I think a lot of guys that know him in this locker room keep him alive in their heads and in their souls. I certainly find myself thinking about him at different times and he was such a positive member of this team. We are so lucky and grateful to get to play football and he certainly took advantage of that. He was a joy and an honor to play with and be around."
"Edwin meant something different to everybody. He was an important character in the locker room. (He) really brought a different energy to meetings and practice and off-the-field community service. Everybody enjoyed Edwin. This week, it's pretty cool that we're going to honor him and his family and remember what impact he left here in Indianapolis. It's gonna start today in practice; every day, we're gonna work just a little bit harder for him and his family, and we'll show it on the field on Sunday."
"I think it'll definitely be an emotional moment before the game, but it's something that we're excited about. Me and Matthias were talking about it, it's kind of a bittersweet moment. We feel he's a part of the Colts community forever. For me, I came in last year, he was one of the first people that I was introduced to. Our lockers were right next to each other, being a linebacker. I can just remember all the times when I wasn't feeling too up about myself or something like that, he'd always make a joke just to keep me positive. Appreciating the blessing of just being able to play this game, you know, I was going through a lot of injuries and he was like, 'Don't worry about it.' He was always positive. When I was going through my injuries last year, I looked at him and he'd be in the training room with me just laughing, just to brighten the mood, I guess. He lived his life to the fullest, and he was definitely someone that God created to just have an affect on people, and that's what he was able to do. In the community and on his teammates. Again, he never took a day for granted, and every day he was just happy to be living out his dream in the NFL. So, you definitely appreciate that."