Keith Jackson spent six NFL seasons with the great Reggie White. Four years as an Eagle (1988-91) and two years as a Packer (1995-96).
And Friday night, when the NCAA honors Jackson with its Silver Anniversary Award, the words of the late White will resonate with Jackson. “I have to sum it up with words from a friend who was near and dear to my heart. Reggie White,” Jackson said. “‘If people remember me only as a football player, I’ve failed miserably.’ When something like this happens, it brings that back to me. What you do for people. how you impact people, that’s totally different.”
Jackson will be remembered for more than football. As an OU football player in 1984-87, Jackson was an all-American tight end and also received the NCAA’s prestigious Top Six Award, which recognizes athletic achievement, academic excellence and character/leadership activities. But the NCAA also has the Silver Anniversary Award to honor distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their collegiate athletic careers. Jackson’s renowned P.A.R.K. organization — Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids — in his hometown of Little Rock, Ark., has inspired and helped children for more than a decade.
“Speaks a lot to what we’re done at P.A.R.K., helping kids go to college,” Jackson said. “That’s exciting to me. It’s quite the honor. The closer it gets, the more excited I become.”
The presentation comes Friday night in Grapevine, Texas, at the Gaylord Texan Resort, during the NCAA convention. Jackson’s OU coach, Barry Switzer, and Sooner athletic director Joe Castiglione will attend. So will former Sooner great Dewey Selmon, who will represent his brother, the late Lee Roy Selmon, OU’s only other Silver Anniversary Award winner.
“Lee Roy Selmon. You go ‘wow. That’s big,’” Jackson said. “All the players who played athletics during your era, and you’re one of the few who have been recognized.”
The other Silver Anniversary honorees Friday night are:
* Bob Cottingham, Columbia, fencing.
* Dylann Duncan Ceriani, BYU volleyball.
* Yolanda Gail Devers, UCLA, track.
* Chad Hennings, Air Force, football.
* Patrick McEnroe, Stanford, tennis.