INDIANAPOLIS —Edwin Jackson may not be with us anymore, but he lives on through his family, friends, former teammates, coaches and just about everybody who crossed paths with the inside linebacker on and off the field.
Jackson and Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe were tragically killed early Sunday when they were struck by a suspected drunk driver on Interstate 70 in Indianapolis.
Since that time, those across the league, as well as within the communities he touched, have expressed grief, of course, but also gratitude and appreciation for the way Jackson went about his business on the football field, as well as in his efforts to use his status for good away from it.
On Wednesday night, Jackson's family said that grief and gratitude certainly is felt on their end, too. They released this statement on the deaths of Jackson and Monroe:
"The parents and family of Edwin Jackson would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming expressions of love, condolences, concern, and care during this sudden and tragic loss.
We were blessed to have had an amazing son who lived a life that extended respect, love, and genuine concern to everyone. He showed compassion for his community and strived to be an example to kids who looked up to him.
We have lost a son, a brother, a nephew, and an uncle. The Indianapolis Colts and the National Football League have lost a young and rising star – one who truly loved the game of football, and played it with a passion.
We thank the City of Indianapolis for embracing Edwin and treating him as one of their own. We also thank Mr. Irsay and the entire Colts organization for allowing Edwin to fulfill his dream of playing the game that he worked so hard for and loved immensely. We are also grateful for the Georgia Southern University and Westlake High School communities, who supported Edwin along his journey to success.
While we mourn the loss of an amazing young man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that his life serves as an example to young people around the world that, with a plan and hard work, dreams can come true.
As we grieve our loss, we are aware that the family of Mr. Jeffrey Monroe also grieves the loss of their loved one. We extend our deepest condolences and prayers to them during this time.
In this darkest moment, we choose to remember Edwin for the wonderful things he accomplished in his short time on earth, including the Edwin Jackson 53 Foundation that he started to empower athletes and youth.
*For those seeking to honor Edwin, we ask that in lieu of flowers and cards you help to keep his legacy alive by contributing to his foundation. To learn more visit www.EdwinJackson53.com."
*Jackson's funeral and wake will take place in Atlanta on Sunday and Monday. Visitation will be at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Big Bethel AME Church, while Jackson's celebration of life will be on Monday at 11 a.m., also at Big Bethel AME.
Monroe, described as a "loving, kind and caring man who was taken from life way too soon" in his obituary, will have a visitation from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Flanner Buchanan-Floral Park in Indianapolis. Additional visitation will be held at the funeral home from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, with funeral services to follow. He'll be laid to rest at Floral Park Cemetery.
Monroe's family asks that memorial contributions be made to Back On My Feet (964 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis, IN 46204), an organization that combats homelessness "through the power of running, community support and essential employment and housing resources."
Colts general manager Chris Ballard on Wednesday opened up his press conference with a few words on the tragic deaths of Jackson and Monroe:
"Very difficult day, a very difficult couple of days talking with both families, talking with our players and I want all of you to make sure that you keep in perspective what it's important in life and that's human life. That's people, how we treat people, telling the people that you're close to that you love them every day because tomorrow is not promised to any of us. It's not. Sunday was an eye-opener. It was an eye-opener and put a lot of great things in perspective to me. From the Irsay family to Edwin's family and to Jeffrey's family, our thoughts and prayers are with you. We're going to be with you the whole way. We're going to be with you every step of the way as an organization. I sat in yesterday with Matthias Farley, who I just absolutely love, everything Matthias Farley stands for. We shed tears together about Edwin and what Edwin stood for, the type of kid he was, the type of man he is, how he wanted to be great at football, how he wanted to make a difference in other people's lives – and that's important. It's important that we remember him for the things that he stood for, and we will as an organization. Very honored to have him be a part of this and get to know him and spend time with him. It's a shame that his life was cut short. So please keep that all in perspective as we go forward."