Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, an offseason free-agent addition to the Giants, covers some Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby ahead of training camp.
Q: Describe your on-field mentality.
A: Try to go get it, by all means necessary, understanding that in this life, nothing is given, you gotta earn it. And I think that’s been my mentality my whole life, always feeling like just to prove myself and just trying to make sure my people, like my family, are happy and are well off. All the things that I dreamed about as a kid I have to go get it.
Q: What drives you?
A: What drives me is fear. Like the fear of letting my parents down, the fear of letting my city down. And the other one was like understanding with the talent that I have it can be taken away at any moment. My mom was always telling me: “The Lord gave it to you. He can take it away.” So those were the two things that drove me, understanding that I need to maximize all the talents and abilities that the Lord gave me, ’cause if I’m not, then I’m wasting ’em.
Q: Why would you buy a ticket to watch Adoree’ Jackson play football?
A: Just because of the strength of who he is as a person, being a God-fearing man. Despite what he does on the field, I feel like I’m a good dude, man, and I treat everybody with respect. … You never know what somebody’s going through — a hello, a good morning, how you doing? — just being polite and nice, a smile can brighten somebody’s day. That’s one of the things that I like to try to do, interact with people because I never had that as a kid from East St. Louis. We had the St. Louis Rams, but how many times are you going to a game? How many times are you gonna be able to meet or shake hands or talk to somebody that’s doing something that you want to do? It’s just me trying to give back. … That’s what I’m trying to do, just trying to give hope and inspire.
Q: Does anyone remind you of you?
A: I’ve been knowing Jabrill [Peppers] since 2013. When we were coming out of high school, they used to always, “Oh he goes by both ways, I go both ways.” I feel like that’s one of the people that I would say like wouldn’t remind me of myself, but did similar things or do similar things — punt returning, playing on the defensive side and as such.
Q: Tell me about your friend, Jeremiah Radford.
A: The first time I met him was the first time I ever played football. It was, I think, fifth grade. We were both playing running back at the time. I was the quick, shifty speed guy and he was the more power back. They used to call us Lightning and Thunder. He loved No. 21, that’s why I wore it in high school [at Junipero Serra in Gardena, Calif.] once he passed away. It was one of those things just to honor him. He always kept a smile on his face. Even though he had cancer, you never would have known that if you were around him. The dude was always in good spirits, man. That’s one of the things that you can appreciate, not thinking about the future but living in the present.
Q: You still think about him to this day?
A: I remember when he was in the hospital, I was back in California at the time, so I didn’t really get to see him. So that really eats me up to this day, because it’s like, “Man, I wish I had got to see him and spend time with him.” But every time before the games I play, I ask him and my grandmother to watch over me and be with me and I hope I can just make ’em proud. That’s one of the things that I try to keep going, ’cause I know this was his dream, and I’m just trying to live it out for him. His favorite running back was LaDainian Tomlinson.
Q: If you could test your skills 1-on-1 against any receiver in NFL history, who would it be?
A: My favorite receiver which was crazy growing up was Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. I liked his swag and how he played the game, man, and the charisma that he had and the passion that he had and the celebration as well.
Q: If you could pick the brain of any cornerback in NFL history?
A: The first thing that came to my head was Asante Samuel. Just a ballhawk, a guy that gets after the ball, scrappy. Not the tallest, not the biggest but who is gonna go out there and make plays.
Q: Who are quarterbacks you’re looking forward to intercepting?
A: You know what’s crazy? My favorite quarterback all-time was Mike Vick, but I can’t go against him. At this moment, I don’t have a quarterback that I would say that I’m looking forward to intercepting. If I can get ’em, I’m gonna get ’em.
Q: Do you think quarterbacks might target you because James Bradberry is on the other side?
A: If that’s how the game goes, man, I’m eager for the opportunity. When the opportunities present themselves, you gotta make plays.
Q: Why do you like returning punts so much?
A: I watched Reggie Bush’s highlight tape when he got into the league. At any given moment you can change the game with just that play right there.
Q: You also liked Devin Hester?
A: I got his Chicago Bear jersey, I got his Pro Bowl jersey. I remember my dad got me his jersey. I have Deion [Sanders], I have the T.O. [Terrell Owens] jersey, I have the Reggie Bush jersey. Devin Hester was doing his thing during the time when I still liked the Rams, but Devin Hester was that guy going crazy. That was fun to watch him and be glued up to the TV. You couldn’t step away, whether it was a punt return or a kick return ’cause you didn’t know what was about to go down.
Q: A favorite football memory?
A: I would say my favorite memory of any level I played was my freshman year in high school. I came late to the team ’cause I didn’t know if I was gonna play ball or not, I just got through with like basketball and stuff. It was like my birthday, the starting running back forgot his pads. My first game I was only playing kick returner, I took a kick to the crib. … My second full-time game I actually got to start.
Q: Your favorite USC memory?
A: My sophomore year, it was the first time the guys on the team beat UCLA. You run the town that way. It was good to get that one for ’em.
Q: How shocking or disappointing was it when the Titans released you?
A: I feel like it’s always shocking. At the end of the day, I think things happen for a reason. God closed one door and opened up another one. I don’t want to say I was like devastated or I was heartbroken, I was more heartbreaking and devastating when I was hurt [knee, in preseason last year] than I was when I got released, if that makes any sense, because I never thought that would happen. I never had no ill will. I appreciate them for everything and I wish ’em the best.
Q: If Joe Judge asks you to play running back or wide receiver, how would you feel about that?
A: If somebody said, “Here go $50,000, how are you gonna feel about that?” I’m like, “Yeah yeah, I’ll go play it, don’t worry about it!” I’m not gonna turn it down. Did it when I was at Tennessee, I played running back for a couple of plays, which is cool, that was fun to do that. I just like playing, man, I just like ballin’, I just like being on the field with my guys. I remember one time at Tennessee, they had me play the blocker for the gunner one play, and I’m over there trying to knock somebody’s chin loose, we’re trying to get in the end zone. Whatever it is they ask, I’m gonna go out there and do.
Q: Whatever comes to mind: Leonard Williams?
Q: A USC memory?
A: My favorite Leonard memory would be when we played Stanford at Stanford. I saw the quarterback throw the ball — so, “Oh yeah, I’m gonna pick the game off to win.” No, Leonard got the sack and made the dude fumble. Crunch time, he went out there and handled his business and did his thing.
Q: Logan Ryan?
A: The General. So smart, man, playing in New England, being at the Patriots, having two Super Bowls, understanding everything, played with [Aqib] Talib, played with [Darrelle] Revis. … He was able to pick brains of different legendary players and be able to go against different legendary players that were on offense and have Tom Brady, just to be able to pick those brains of everybody and him being that general, that quarterback on the defensive side, man, it’s helpful to have, especially when I was a [Titans] rookie coming in.
Q: Sam Darnold?
A: Electrifying. When I hear Sam Darnold, that’s what I think of. I remember him his freshman year, he was on scout team, he was tearing us up. He won us [USC] a lot of games, and he was just one of those guys that sparked it up, not just with his arm but he could run the ball as well.
Q: Do you think the best is yet to come from him even though his Jets career didn’t go as planned?
A: Everybody don’t get a second chance, so I hope he gets all the blessings that he deserves.
Q: Corey Davis?
A: I always say, “God never fails and the good always prevail.”
Q: Saquon Barkley?
A: A beast (laugh). The first time I actually got introduced to him was when [Penn State] played us in the Rose Bowl, and he tore it up.
Q: Daniel Jones?
A: Silent assassin. He just puts his head down, carries his lunch pail and just go to work.
Q: Patrick Graham?
A: He’s a cool cat, being able to relate, and that’s a good thing to have, somebody that’s relatable to you as not just a player but as a person.
Q: What do you know about the tradition of Giants defense?
A: Real grimy. Dawgs. Go after it go get it. We can’t be them. As much as we’re gonna try we’re gonna have to get our identity, and be what we’re gonna be. You respect what they’ve done. … OK, how can I etch my name, how can we etch our name in it?
Q: Why did your mom start calling you Sweet Pea?
A: She was just saying that I was always happy as a kid, and I was born 10 pounds, 8 ounces, so I was fat like a pea, and then I was just sweet, she said.
Q: Describe your mother, Vianca.
A: The best. I feel like my mother’s just loving, caring, passionate, always put other people first, sweet and kind-hearted … just a woman that you want to be around, a person that is always gonna show you love and is genuine. I think that’s one of the things I get from my mother is just genuine. A humble lady, and self-aware of what’s going on in the world and try to make everybody feel accepted.
Q: How did your mother’s breast cancer battle impact you?
A: It was tough ’cause that was around my sophomore year in college. I didn’t really have the best season, I was dealing with it, battling, but I didn’t tell anybody, so nobody knew until she came out on that video on my Instagram or Twitter. It affected me a lot. I’m 19, 20 years old, not understanding of what’s going on in life, like, Oh man, this is supposed to be the best times of my life, and my mom is dealing with this, so it was one of those things where I didn’t know how to cope and manage never really having to deal with any adversity in life. Thankfully she made it through and having faith with the Lord got me through it as well.
Q: Describe your father Christopher.
A: Laid-back, cool, a hard-working man, do anything for his children. He saw more in me than I saw in myself. I had big aspirations and dreams about what I wanted to do, but just having that support and that backbone in a father to be able to help me and direct me in where I wanted to go and what I want to do was key. When I was in Pop Warner, having him having a barbecue grill on the back of the pickup truck driving to my Pop Warner games, just being there present was just cool, and always saying, “If you get three touchdowns, you can go to Dave & Buster’s.” That lasted like a year, ’cause after that he was tired of taking me (chuckle) to Dave & Buster’s for scoring three touchdowns. So just having that presence of my dad pushing me more than I probably was gonna push myself, and wanted it just as bad as I did, it was good to have.
Q: Will he be bringing his grill to New York-New Jersey?
A: I think I’m gonna have to get him one because the first thing (chuckle) I said when I was talking about going to New York, he said, “Man that’s a 16-hour drive.” I’m gonna have to give him something so he can feel at home when he’s out there. He’s gonna for sure come out there and throw down. I gotta give the East Coast a little bit of the Midwest or that Jackson barbecue. Everything is hand-made himself, the barbecue, the seasoning he makes himself.
Q: Describe the 618 area code.
A: When you come in from the St. Louis side, it says the City of Champions. And for me, 618 just means gratitude. I’m just thankful to be from where I’m from. And just trying to make it a way for people to come out and see hope like, “Oh man, he did it, I can do it.”
Q: Boyhood idols?
A: Basketball-wise, I used to like Allen Iverson a lot. I grew up a huge Derrick Rose fan. And Reggie Bush for football. And life-wise, my dad and my big brother probably were like one of my two biggest inspirations, and then when I was a kid, I used to like 50 Cent a lot, I had his video games, all the tank tops and everything.
Q: Personal goals?
A: Practice every practice and play every game and let the rest handle itself. I appreciate Logan when he said that.
Q: Dinner guests?
A: H.B. Reese, Frank Lucas, I can invite my family over too though, so they can all come? 50 Cent.
Q: Favorite movies?
A: “Space Jam,” “American Gangster” “Scarface.”
Q: Favorite actor?
A: Denzel Washington.
Q: Favorite actress?
A: Nia Long.
Q: Favorite singer/entertainer?
A: Lil Wayne and Drake.
Q: Favorite meal?
A: Breakfast meal, rice and bacon, with the butter and sugar on the rice, mix that up. Nice little hearty me for you right there, stick to your bone.
Q: A message to Giants fans about the player and the person they’re getting in Adoree’ Jackson?
A: As a player, a guy that’s gonna compete and give it his all, and as a person, a God-fearing man who’s just hoping to serve and can help others.
Credit: Notigroup Newsroom.
[This article may have been written with information from various sources]