DeSean Jackson's cousin honored in Bucs' 'Salute to Service'
The Bucs' "Salute to Service" moments are always special, but even more so when there's a direct tie to the current team, and among the veterans honored during Sunday's Bucs-Panthers game is retired Army Sgt. James Jackson, a cousin of Tampa Bay receiver DeSean Jackson.
"Everywhere he goes, I'm his favorite vet," said Jackson, 69, who is a first cousin of DeSean's father and lives in Philadelphia. "I love him to death. I've followed him through college. I have film of him when he played Pop Warner. When I watch football, I watch DeSean."
Jackson, called "Uncle Jimmy" by DeSean, served in Vietnam from 1967-70 and was wounded twice in action, earning two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars.
"They do a great job for the veterans, and I know they will continue to do that," he said of the NFL's work to recognize the military before and during games.
Jackson still lives in Philadelphia and said he cried when his cousin was drafted by the Eagles, knowing he'd get to see more of him, both in games and in general. He said that as a military veteran he had no problem with DeSean choosing to kneel in protest during the national anthem in a game earlier this season.
"When they take a knee, I don't think they're desecrating the flag," he said. "I think they want to get a point across. You can see by him having me here and honoring me as a veteran, the players do not feel that way. I go along with what they're doing. I know why they're doing it. I know he's honoring the American flag by having me here."