ATLANTA, GA — Edwin Jackson, the Atlanta-born NFL player who was killed in a drunk-driving crash early Sunday, “extended respect, love and genuine concern to everyone,” his family said in a written statement.
Released late Wednesday, the public statement was the family’s first since Jackson’s death and included funeral information for the Indianapolis Colts linebacker, who played at Georgia Southern University before beginning his pro career.
“We were blessed to have had an amazing son who lived a life that extended respect, love, and genuine concern to everyone,” the statement reads. “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.”
Funeral services for Jackson have been scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12, at 11 a.m. at Big Bethel A.M.E Church, in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn district. Visitation will be held on Sunday from noon until 6 p.m. at Murray Brothers Cascade Chapel. Murray Brothers is at 1199 Utoy Springs Rd. SW in Atlanta.
A wake will be held at the chapel from 6-8 p.m. on Sunday.
In lieu of flowers, family members are asking the public to donate to Jackson’s Edwin Jackson 53 Foundation. Through the foundation, Jackson worked to help young athletes who, like himself, did not receive college scholarships.
The foundation also supports The PoundCake Club — using Jackson’s own nickname — which promotes physical fitness and healthy lifestyle choices for children from underprivileged backgrounds. The club hosts fitness camps, after-school programs, field days and leadership development courses, as well as providing school supplies for students in need.
Indiana State Police say a drunken driver barreled into a car that Jackson was standing next to on the emergency shoulder of Interstate 7o in Indianapolis at about 4 a.m. Sunday, killing Jackson and 54-year-old Uber driver Jeffrey Monroe.
Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, a native of Guatemala, is charged in the case. Authorities say Orrego-Savala, who initially gave police a fake name, was in the United States illegally and had been deported twice — once in 2007 and again in 2009.
According to state police, Jackson was riding in a red Lincoln sedan driven by Monroe when he became ill. Monroe pulled over alongside Interstate 70 and got out to help him. That’s when police say Orrego-Savala, driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck, smashed into the rear of the car and hit both men.
Jackson, one of 11 children, played football and wrestled at Westlake High School in Atlanta before walking on at Georgia Southern, where he would go on to lead the team in tackles his junior and senior years. An undrafted free agent, he signed with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, and then the Colts, starting as a practice squad player and working his way up to become at starter at inside linebacker in 2016.
In their statement, Jackson’s family thanked fans for what they called “overwhelming expressions of love, condolences, concern, and care” since his death. They also thanked the Colts organization, including owner Jim Irsay, who has offered to pay funeral expenses for both Jackson and Monroe.
They also sent sympathies to Monroe’s family.
“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,” the statement reads.
Photo via EdwinJackson53.com