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A Nice Little Story

 

Here’s a story I found on Brandon Jacobs and Corey Webster from Patrica Triana at trainathought.insidefootball.com

And of course feel free to check out our Giants-Saints game preview
here

Pick any NFL roster and look closely at it. Chances are that you will find teammates who were on the same college team or who faced each other annually because they were in the same conference.
 
But something you won’t see very often are teammates who can trace their relationship back to their childhood, when as little boys they shared a dream of playing in front of thousands of fans at the highest possible level.

That’s what the New York Giants have in CB Corey Webster and RB Brandon Jacobs, two teammates who shared childhood dreams together as they were growing up in Vacherie and Napoleonville Louisiana, respectively.

What makes their friendship so special is that it’s withstood the test of time despite two very different upbringings and circumstances. United by their love of sports, these two integral members of the Giants roster say they owe a lot to each other for the men each has become. 

EARLY BEGINNINGS
Webster and Jacobs, both 27 years old, first met when they were nine year old participants in an Amateur Athletic (AA) Basketball summer league.

Webster’s father, MacArthur, was a coach on his son’s team, the Louisiana Hurricanes. “We had a pretty good team,” Webster, who played guard, recalled. “But we were missing something – a big, physical kid to be our enforcer.” 

So like any team would do, the coaches of the Louisiana Hurricanes kept their eyes and ears open for a prospect that could bring another dimension to their team. Turns out they only needed to look a few towns over to find who they were looking for.

“One day we heard about this kid on another team who was a big, physical specimen, so we said, ‘We have to go and try to get him for our team.’ So we went out there and picked him up.”

Webster smiled when he recalled meeting Jacobs, the boy who would become his lifelong friend. “He was huge!” he said when he first saw Jacobs. “He was the biggest kid on the team and was a physical, muscular specimen. He was definitely not the kind of guy you wanted to cross or play against, so we were thankful to have him on our side.”

“We sort of just introduced ourselves to each other,” Jacobs recalled of his first meeting with Webster. “He told me where he was from and I was like, ‘I know where that is.’ Turns out it was about 15 or 20 minutes from where I lived. Because he lived so close to me, we started hanging out together and we became close friends.”

Their friendship continued to blossom as their basketball team traveled around the state of Louisiana for away games ever summer. If Jacobs’ family couldn’t make the trip, Webster’s family would look after him and make sure he had what he needed. 

“They are some solid human beings, some good people,” Jacobs said of the Webster family that, besides Corey and his parents, includes two older sisters. “They are examples of what people should be like.”

When they weren’t playing summer basketball, the two friends never really strayed too far apart from each other, be it in their thoughts or in their activities. Although they would continue to play on the same summer basketball team for six years, they regularly ran into each other despite attending different schools whether it was on the gridiron or the hardwood floor, as their teams were annual opponents. They also ran into each other at different social events.

So between the summer basketball league, the high school competition, and their lives outside of school, Webster and Jacobs would spend the next six years of their respective lives helping each other get through their teenage years. 

“HE SAVED MY LIFE”
While the two friends share a lot of fond memories of their youth, there’s one in particular that stands out for both.

It was an incident that took place one summer while the two were on the road with their basketball team. The team had been enjoying some downtime by the pool. Webster had been sitting on the edge with his feet in the water when suddenly Jacobs, who didn’t know how to swim at the time, jumped into what he thought was some shallow water.

He was wrong. “There were some kids already in there that were taller than me,” Jacobs said. “I didn’t realize they were treading water. I thought they were just standing there, so I jumped in and I went straight to the bottom. It wasn’t that deep, but I panicked.”

Fortunately, Webster saw what happened and, enlisting the aid of another teammate (“because he was so big,” Webster said), he quickly jumped into the water to pull his friend to safety.

“If it wasn’t for Corey, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” Jacobs said. “He saved my life.”

SEPARATE WAYS
When they reached adulthood, both Webster and Jacobs were soon faced with the tough decision many kids need to make about their future. Webster knew he wanted to go to college and play sports, and ultimately decided to pursue football, as he had been recruited by LSU’s then head coach Nick Saban to play wide receiver.

Meanwhile Jacobs, who was a high school senior when Webster started college, began thinking about his own future. He went through several scenarios in trying to decide whether to play football or basketball. He also began looking at schools where he could get a good education and the training to help him excel in the sport of his choosing, which of course turned out to be football.  

As Jacobs explored his options, he contemplated joining Webster as a member of the Tigers squad. However, after discussing his options with Webster, Jacobs soon realized that LSU wasn’t the right fit for him.

“Corey was one of the reasons why I didn’t go to LSU because he thought I wouldn’t be able to become the type of football player I wanted to be,” Jacobs said. “I knew I wanted to be a running back, but at LSU, it wasn’t uncommon for them to move guys around to different positions. Remember, Corey was a high school quarterback, but they started him as a wide receiver before switching him over to cornerback. I didn’t want to go through that.”

With Jacobs clear on what he wanted to do, he enrolled at Coffeyville (Kan) Community College. From there, he ultimately decided to play for another Tigers team, this one at Auburn.

However, things didn’t work out the way he hoped due to the backlog of running backs the team had, so Jacobs made the decision to transfer to Southern Illinois where he flourished as a running back and began drawing the attention of NFL scouts who were intrigued with his rare combination of size, strength, and athleticism.  

Although they played their college ball in different states and began to realize that if they were drafted, they might not be able to keep in touch as much as they’d like, fate had a pleasant surprise in store for them.

DÉJÀ VU
Jacobs and Webster, whose lockers at the Timex Performance Center are separated by about three stalls, would soon realize the first of many childhood dreams they shared over those six summers of AA basketball when the New York Giants in 2005 drafted Webster in the second round and Jacobs in the fourth round. 

Webster said the turn of events was unbelievable at first but one of the greatest blessings he could hope for. During the 2005 draft, he opted to spend the day with family and friends riding around in ATVs rather than follow the draft tracker.  So when the Giants announced that they had drafted his friend in the fourth round, Webster missed the news until he received a special phone call.

“Brandon called me and said, ‘Hey man, I’m coming to New York to be with you,’” Webster recalled. “I thought he was kidding me, so my dad looked it up online, and sure enough, two guys who played AA ball together, played high school ball together and who lived maybe 15 minutes away from each other were going to be on the same team.”

While both were thrilled to be teammates again, their biggest thrill to date was still a couple of seasons away as in 2007, Jacobs, Webster, and the rest of the Giants organization shared the glory of one of the most incredible Super Bowl championships ever.

“That was one of the best parts because that’s the highest level of championship a football player can reach and it was a special moment because we did it together,” Webster said of the man who became his training camp and road game roommate for the first two years of their respective careers.

GOING HOME
This weekend, the two childhood friends from Louisiana will share another special moment in their lives when they “go home” to face the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome. 

“That’s big,” Webster said of the chance to play again at the Superdome. “Growing up, it’s everyone’s dream to play in the Superdome. I played in a high school championship game there, but never won one. Brandon played in a high school championship game. I won a national championship there when I was with LSU. So being able to go back there this weekend and play a big NFL game against a team with one of the most potent offenses in front of our hometown is just a wonderful feeling.” 

“It’s very special,” Jacobs added. “This is our first opportunity to play against a good team, and we’re going to do it together.”

While it will be business as usual for the teammates, they do plan to meet with friends and family, including some former teammates from their days in youth basketball, to reminisce about the old days over some New Orleans-style cooking. 

However, don’t expect either man to get too far removed from the reason why they’ll be in New Orleans to begin with. 

“We understand it’s a business trip first, and we want nothing more than to come back with a win,” Webster said.

“We won’t let anything get in the way of what we’re supposed to do,” said Jacobs.

FRIENDS FOR LIFE
If there’s one thing that Webster admires most about Jacobs is how he never backs down from a challenge and how he’s overcome so much in life to get to where he is.

“He’s a gentleman and a well rounded person,” Webster said. “I think he can touch a lot of kids with his stories from his childhood. He never gave up and always made the best out of the situation that was handed to him. That’s what makes him the strong person he is.”

Jacobs, meanwhile, admires Webster for his ability to dispense sage advice that one might expect to come from a man twice Webster’s age. 

“He is a guy that a lot of the younger guys who went to LSU and who are now in the NFL look to for advice,” Jacobs said proudly. “And he gives them good advice. That’s just the type of dude he’s always been.”

While they know they won’t be teammates forever, the two men are confident that their friendship that has lasted since both were little boys dreaming of grand things will withstand the test of time.

“Life does force you to make some tough decisions,” said Jacobs, “and people do go their separate ways. But the bond we have is something special and there’s nothing about him that I would ever forget.”


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2 Responses to “A Nice Little Story”

  1. Michael M says:

    GREAT STORY….AMAZING

  2. Júlio César says:

    beautiful story… and both aewsome players

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