If you were to look at just about any predictions for the Detroit Lions 53-man roster, the name Jerry Jacobs wasn’t on it. The undrafted rookie out of Arkansas never had a media session during training camp this year, he was only mentioned in passing by Dan Campbell in his daily press conferences, and he got maybe a note or two in our camp observations.
But Jacobs, who has battled through a JUCO stint and had to deal with so little college tape out there—he opted out at Arkansas last year after four games—has improbably made the roster and has a great story to tell.
Throughout the offseason, Jacobs has been detailing that story on several appearances on the Detroit Lions Podcast (unaffiliated with the team) with Jeff Risdon and Chris.
On Wednesday night, Jacobs joined the crew again to talk about his experience making the team and his journey through the preseason. I’ve clipped out some quotes from the interview, but I would highly suggest listening or watching the entire thing here. The young man is humble, inspiring, and funny.
On Jeff Okudah as a mentor, and the second-year season he’s about to have:
“Man, every time I hear that dude’s name, I just... I don’t know, it’s love, bro. It’s nothing but love for him. He’s younger than me, too, but he feels like my big brother. So it’s crazy.
“Just getting the knowledge, because when I first got here, I really went up to him because I used to watch him in college, I was like, ‘Bro, you’re really cold.’ The coach we’ve got right now has got him so elite now with everything. Man, you’re going to see. He’s going to have a great year coming up.
“The connection just clicked one day. He took me home—no he invited me to... someone was cooking, and he invited me over to chill and eat. The connection just clicked because we talked. His mom passed, and my mom passed and the hunger he seen in me, he was like, ‘I’m going to take you under my wing,’ even though he’s younger than me, but I was like, ‘Yeah, man. I’m going to take it.’
“He’s helping me out a lot because he said his rookie year he didn’t get a big, prototype love, or show how the rookie ropes is. He’s taking me in a great way. The first day I met him and the days we’ve been talking since, it’s just been love. I feel like he is my brother. He takes me home every day, and we just talk, we go eat. It’s just great being around Jeff. Jeff is a great dude, and a lot of people out there need to watch the season he’s finna to have this upcoming season.”
On his role on the team right now:
“Right now, I’m starting on special teams. I guess that’s my role. I don’t guess. That’s my role, and I’m going to do it 110 percent. If they need me at corner, they need me at nickel—that’s where I’m playing right now—wherever they need me, if someone goes down, and the next man steps up, Jerry Jacobs is ready to go.”
On how he heard he made the team:
“I just got in the DB room, AJ (Parker), we’re just chopping it up. They told us all the work we put in at training camp, we had an amazing training camp, and they loved our work ethic. We had a great preseason as well. They were like they feel we can help this team out in a lot of ways. On special teams, defense, don’t matter what.
“Once I got there, I couldn’t even cry, because I just didn’t know what to say. Like I tweeted, I was so speechless. I just didn’t know what to say because the day I opted out, I just get sad about it, because the day I opted out, you don’t know how many people thought Jerry Jacobs’ life was over, thought football was over.
“And I tweeted it. I said all I needed was a shot, and I said it was over. And Detroit gave me that shot, and that’s why I got up here and gave them all they wanted. It’s a blessing but we’re going to keep going.”
You can—and should—watch the entire interview below. Jacobs joins the show around the 25:22 mark: