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    New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara took home the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year from Saturday’s NFL Honors Award Ceremony in Minneapolis.  Kamara’s average 6.1 yards per carry in 120 rushes to beat out fellow running back Kareem Hunt out of Kansas City and Texans Quarterback Deshaun Watson.  According to Sports Illustrated‘s Ben Baskin, Kamara became the third rookie in league history, and the first in over 30 years, to tally at least 800 receiving yards and 700 rushing yards.

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    As the third round draft pick out of Tennessee, Kamara was the fifth running back taken in the draft.  Kamara was added to the Saints roster along with veteran running backs Mark Ingram and future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson.  By mid season, Peterson was traded to Arizona and Ingram continued to mentor the rookie.  

    After receiving his award, media asked Kamara about his relationship with Ingram, “I wish he was here because he’s a big reason why I’m standing right here… Great teammate, great friend, a brother to me, great mentor. I came in and he showed nothing but love to me and helped me with anything I needed, whether it was on or off the field. Our friendship off the field helped us tremendously on Sundays. We created a bond I don’t think will ever break.”

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    Kamara’s total of 14 touchdowns also earned him his first trip to the Pro-Bowl this year and was also chosen by fans as the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the year.  His NFL Honors award led to the Saints sweeping the Rookie division with the Defensive Rookie of the year being awarded to teammate Marshon Lattimore.  The Saints’ winning 2017 draft will undoubtedly make them a formidable force in the future.

     

  • Indianapolis Colts Linebacker, Edwin “Pound Cake” Jackson was killed just hours before Sunday’s Super Bowl LII.  The 26-year-old linebacker was hit by a suspected drunk driver just before 4 a.m. on Sunday on Interstate 70 in Indiana.

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    Indianapolis Colts released a statement expressing their grief at the loss of the young Colt”

    “We were heartbroken to hear the news of Edwin Jackson’s passing. Edwin was loved by all in the Colts organization. We admired his outgoing personality, competitive spirit and hard-working mentality. He was well-respected among all with whom he crossed paths, and he will be greatly missed in our locker room and throughout our entire organization. We also understand that another person lost his life in the accident, only adding to our sorrow on this day. We are shocked and saddened by this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both men during this difficult time.”

    According to a police press release, the second man killed alongside Jackson was 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe–believed to be Jackson’s ride-share driver.  The two men were standing outside their 2018 Lincoln when a Ford F-150 driven by 37-year-old Alex Cabrera Gonsales– who was allegedly intoxicated– drove onto the emergency shoulder and hit the two men.

    The community, friends and teammates reacted on Twitter to the news of Jackson’s passing.

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    It was in Arizona that Jackson earned his nickname “Pound Cake.”  The young man out of Southern Georgia missed his initial interview with the Cardinals due to a missed flight to Phoenix.  In an effort to “re-make” a good first impression, Jackson’s mother made some pound cakes to give to the defensive staff.

    Jackson described the meeting to the IndyStar, ““I get there and we sit down and they were really mad at me,” Jackson said. “They don’t know who I am. That was my first impression. So, I reach in my bag and pull out the cakes. It’s like the (aroma) went right into their noses. I said, ‘These are homemade, South Georgia pound cakes.’ And I gave one each to the whole defensive staff. They loved them.”

    The Cardinals did end up signing Jackson as an undrafted free agent.  He was given a chance and a nickname.

    “I got to practice, and everybody’s calling me ‘Pound Cake’,” he continued.

    That nickname was not forgotten by the NFL community.  The Atlanta native did play the NFL pre-season of 2015 with Arizona.  After being cut, he was picked up later that same year by the Colts.  The following season, Jackson played all 16 games for Indianapolis including 8 starts.  He spent 2017 on the Colts injured reserve list.

    NFL: Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts 

    Pound Cake was anything but soft and sweet as a punishing defensive linebacker.  He terrorized offenses and recorded 66 tackles in his one real year of professional football.  Jackson was definitely a rising star and loved by those who knew him.

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