Cutline 1 forjackson.JPG Former Albany High, Florida State and New York Jets star defensive back Bobby Jackson, right, is honored before Friday night’s game between Albany and Mitchell County as Dougherty County Director of Athletics Johnny Seabrooks, left, presents him with a jersey of his newly retired No. 45. Please see Page 2B for a recap of the ceremony and 3B for other prep football action from around Southwest Georgia on Friday night. (Staff photo: Tim Morse)
ALBANY — Donna Mae Meeks stood silently behind her son. A small tear streamed down her face as she watched her eldest boy, Bobby Jackson, Friday night at Hugh Mills Stadium.
It was a happy moment, one she’ll never forget.
The former Albany High, Florida State and New York Jets star had his No. 45 jersey retired before his Indians played host to Mitchell County on Friday.
The speedy defensive back listened as his former high school coach, Ferrell Henry, introduced him.
“He was the fastest guy around here,” Henry said. “Cleo Johnson was another fast guy we had here. Bobby got him.”
Jackson said he loved to run. Growing up, he could outrun everybody. Meeks said when the family lived on Davis Street, Jackson used to try to outrun the garbage truck on trash pick-up days.
“Whenever I speak of him, it always make me proud,” she said. “This honor is long overdue. He never gave me a bit of problem. He’s always been a very loving son.”
Henry said when he first coached Jackson, he was small but quick. However, when the youngster began conditioning and working out with weights, Jackson ballooned from a quick, 135-pounder to a 175-pounder in what he said seemed like overnight.
Jackson received a framed white No. 45 jersey, a letterman’s jacket and a carved Indian statue. Albany High Athletic Director Archie Chatmon presented the former standout with the jacket.
“Aw man,” Jackson said, relishing the moment. He had lost his high school letterman’s jacket during a move several years ago.
Jackson’s career took him to Florida State, where he broke the then-interception record with 10. He also led the Seminoles in punt returns.
The record-setting defensive back took his talents to the National Football League where he was a sixth-round selection of the New York Jets. During his eight-year career in New York, he intercepted 21 passes and led the team four of his eight seasons.
Jackson was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 1993. He also received plenty of honors from the Jets when the organization named him one of the Top 3 cornerbacks ever and named him to the All-Time Jet team.
Yet, Friday night may have been ever more special.
“Being the first player to get honored, I’ll carry this with the highest respect,” Jackson said.
“And I was the only one to catch the trash truck and get a ride on it.”
Meeks just smiled as she walked off the field.