Brian Jackson will have a lot to talk about at Gamble Rogers Middle School this morning, his first back at the Hastings, Florida school since he began a bout with Leukemia in April.
Prior to returning to school, Jackson had to make a special visit to the Jaguars training camp on Thursday evening at Alltel Stadium to check on the 2006 team. He spent the morning at Wolfson Children's Hospital getting chemotherapy and then was a special guest of the club through the Dreams Come True organization.
"He has had a really rough summer and has spent a lot time in the hospital," said Shirley Jackson, Brian's mother. "He has really been looking forward to coming here. This helps keep his mind off the cancer. He can just look ahead to stuff like this and not worry about anything else."
Jackson will have plenty of stories to tell his friends and teachers tomorrow at school. He will have a hard time choosing his favorite.
Jackson, who played defensive end on his football team, took in the entire practice. He spent time studying the Jaguars' defensive ends as they went against the offensive linemen. Jackson also observed plackicker Josh Scobee kicking field goals.
After a Scobee 50-yard field goal fell short, Jackson signaled to long snapper Joe Zelenka that the kick was no good. Zelenka agreed and presented Jackson with the football and signed it, 'No good.'
Jackson wasn't going to leave until he could meet his favorite Jaguars which included Rashean Mathis, Fred Taylor and Kyle Brady. All three players along with Mike Peterson, Quinn Gray, Reggie Williams, Ernest Wilford and Marcus Stroud stopped by to say hello. Head coach Jack Del Rio had a chance to catch up with Jackson prior to his departure. Peterson presented Jackson with a signed pair of gloves he used in the evening practice.
The night was topped off for Jackson when Mathis presented him with an autographed jersey and quarterback Byron Leftwich signed a hat that Jackson received earlier in the evening from the Jaguars.
"He will have a lot of memories from tonight," Shirley Jackson said. "He won't stop talking on the way home. I promise you that. I am so proud of him. He is such a strong boy. He has been through so much. I never thought he could handle it like he has."