Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker returned to his alma mater Pahokee (Fla.) High School where he was presented with a “Hometown Hall of Famers™” plaque on March 13, 2013. The ceremony radiated Pahokee pride as many of Jackson’s friends and family, students and staff of the high school and local Pahokee dignitaries, including Pahokee Mayor JP Sasser, gathered in the school’s gymnasium to proudly honor one of their own hometown legends.
Jackson’s former high school football coach, Eddie Roades, presented Jackson with his hometown plaque. He shared memories of Jackson playing football for Pahokee High School and recalled how proud Jackson was in calling Pahokee home throughout his entire professional career – a sentiment Jackson shared during his speech as well.
The crowd erupted when Jackson made a grand entrance from the side of the gym. The energy was electric as the Blue Devil alum took to the podium to talk about his time in Pahokee and the pride he carries for his hometown.
“Pahokee has some of the best people in the world and I have always cherished that,” Jackson said. “I still check every Friday night to see if the Pahokee football team won their latest football game.”
The ceremony concluded with a proclamation declaring March 13 as “ Day,” a true testament to the hometown pride in the Pahokee community.
“Allstate values hometown pride the same way Pahokee values ,” said Allstate representative Eric Beyer. “I’m thankful for the impact Rickey had in giving me a sense of my own hometown pride.”
Additional speakers at today’s event included Pahokee High School Principal Ariel Alejo, who served as emcee, Reverend Patty Auperlee, Pahokee Mayor J.P. Sasser, Chamber of Congress President Lewis Pope and Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises Program Director Brock Richards.
“I’m pleased and honored has chosen Pahokee High School to receive a piece of Pro Football Hall of Fame history,” said Richards.
In addition to the plaque, a commemorative “Hometown Hall of Famers ™” road sign will be on display in Pahokee.
A University of Pittsburgh alumnus, Jackson was a second-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 1981 NFL Draft. He made an immediate impact as a rookie when he led the team with a franchise rookie record eight sacks and was also the Saints’ leading tackler. Jackson was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and was named first-team All-Pro in 1986, 1987, 1992, and 1993. In 1972, after 13 seasons with the Saints, Jackson finished his NFL career with two final seasons with the San Francisco 49ers who converted him to defensive end and turned him into a pass rush specialist. Jackson retired after the 1995 season with 128 career sacks, which does not include his rookie total since the sack did not become an official statistic until 1982. He also intercepted eight passes during his 227-game NFL career.
Jackson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. He was the first longtime Saints player to earn election to the Hall of Fame.
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