Dexter Jackson made a career out of patrolling the secondary.
The former Tampa Bay Buccaneer safety and Super Bowl MVP now patrols the sidelines for Clark Atlanta, coaching up and mentoring the next generation of defensive backs.
"Being an MVP is great. Playing for 10-11 years is great, it was all great, the best times of my life. But now what's next? This is a great time in my life,” Jackson said. “How can I enhance or enlighten these young men to help them become positive leaders in the world today?"
He's giving back what he received as a young boy who grew up in Quincy, Florida.
"My father passed away when I was young and my mother [was] sick with polycystic kidney when I was 13. So when I was 14, I pretty much had to become the man of the house."
Jackson, 39, turned to football as a release and never allowed his circumstances to define his outcome. It's a lesson he teaches his players and at-risk youth as a Certified Counselor and Case Manager.
"For him, you control your own destiny. You can't blame anyone else for the situation you are in," junior corner back Jalian Colbard said. "So the biggest thing I learned is to take responsibility for me and everything that happens to me."
"They see it and then they come back and repeat the same thing that Dexter says, so it becomes a network of mentoring," head coach Kevin Ramsey said.
Its an approach that has helped turn around a program that finished 1-8 a year ago. The Panthers, a Division-II team, are 5-2 this season.
The X's and O's in the circle of life, one well lived, and connecting so many others in the process.
"When I can touch these kids lives and they can come back and say coach, thank your for helping me become the person I am, I feel like I have done my job to society. And that's what I want to do--give that back to society.”