Bo Jackson Shines Again, This Time Off the Field

Bo Jackson is arguably the best professional athlete ever. He’s the only person to ever play in an MLB All-Star Game and be an NFL Pro Bowler.

A rare blend of speed and power, Jackson was the first pick in the 1986 NFL Draft, selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He refused to play for them after a plane ride to visit to the team was deemed to have violated NCAA rules. Jackson was forced to miss his final year of college baseball, and he thought the Bucs may have brought him in for the visit knowing his baseball career would be jeopardized, and he’d play football.

He vowed to never play for the Bucs, who drafted him anyway. Instead, he signed with the Kansas City Royals, who selected him in the fourth round of the 1986 MLB Draft. He wound up having all-star careers in both sports. Recently, Jackson proved he still has those all-star qualities, but those came off the field.

There’s nobody else like Bo Jackson

Bo Jackson of the Los Angeles Raiders warms up before an NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons on November 20, 1988, at Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. | Mitchell Layton/Getty Images.

In football, Jackson had the ability to run right by a defender or he could run right through them. As a baseball player, he could just as easily steal a base as he could hit a home run. Jackson’s physical skills were unmatched.

In 1989, he nearly became a member of the 30/30 club, finishing with 32 home runs and 26 stolen bases in 135 games. He also drove in a career-high 105 runs that season, paving the way for a roster spot in the 1989 MLB All-Star Game. He homered in his first at-bat of the game. Jackson went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base. Jackson was named MVP of the game.

In the NFL, he made his mark with the Los Angeles Raiders after the Buccaneers forfeited his rights in the 1987 draft. The Raiders took a chance by selecting him in the seventh round in 1987. Initially, Jackson said he wanted to stick with baseball, but Raiders owner Al Davis had no issues with him playing both sports.

Jackson played seven games as a rookie with the Raiders in 1987. He averaged 6.8 yards per carry, collecting 554 yards and four touchdowns. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Jackson played four years with the Raiders before a hip injury ended his career in 1990 during a playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was during that ’90 season when he made the Pro Bowl, rushing for 698 yards and five touchdowns in 10 games.

Jackson donated $170,000 to help pay for the funerals of those killed in the Uvalde school massacre

Jackson recently revealed he was one of the anonymous donors who offered support to the victims of the Uvalde (Texas) school massacre. Nineteen children and two teachers died in the May shooting, and Jackson donated $170,000 to help cover the cost of funeral expenses.

Jackson has no ties to Uvalde other than driving through it to visit a friend’s France on hunting trips, according to The Associated Press.

He said he felt he needed to help.

“I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting old,” said Jackson. “It’s just not right for parents to bury their kids. It’s just not right.

“I know every family there probably works their butts off just to do what they do. … The last thing they needed was to shell out thousands of dollars for something that never should have happened.”

Three days after an 18-year-old gunman carried out the horrific act, Jackson presented Gov. Greg Abbott with a $170,000 check and the offer to pay for funeral expenses.

“Uvalde is a town that sticks in your mind. Just the name,” Jackson said. “I don’t know a soul there. It just touched me.”

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