The Denver Broncos hope to have found a possible superstar in receiver Jerry Jeudy.
Whether Deshaun Watson or Drew Lock is his quarterback in 2021, Jeudy has a chance to emerge as a legitimate No. 1 receiving threat. Jeudy impressed at times in his rookie year and has a bright future ahead of him.
Jeudy is doing all of this in honor of his sister, who died when she was only 7 years old.
Jerry Jeudy had an impressive rookie year for the Broncos
The Denver Broncos seemingly lucked out when Jerry Jeudy, the Alabama Crimson’s star wide receiver, fell to them with the 15th overall pick last April.
At times, Jeudy showed why the Broncos invested such a high selection on the young wideout. Jeudy finished his rookie campaign with 52 receptions for 856 yards and three touchdowns, including a 92-yard catch-and-run against the Raiders in Week 17.
The rookie totaled those numbers despite the Broncos’ various quarterback issues, from Drew Lock missing time to Kendall Hinton — a wide receiver — starting and playing most of the team’s quarterback snaps in a late-season loss to Alvin Kamara and the Saints.
Not all was perfect in Jeudy’s first NFL season, though. According to Pro-Football-Reference, Jeudy dropped 10 of the 113 balls thrown his way.
Jeudy’s sister tragically died at age 7
Jerry Jeudy took the field against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football last December with unique cleats.
The cleats — which were mostly purple and white with slight shades of blue — were dedicated to his late sister, Aaliyah. Jeudy’s sister died when she was 7 years old from Trisomy 18, a medical condition involving the cells.
According to the Trisomy 18 Foundation, an extra chromosome results in developmental issues which “are associated with more medical complications that are more potentially life-threatening in the early months and years of life.”
Aaliyah died when Jeudy was in high school. In an interview last year with ESPN, Jeudy reflected on his sister’s death and how it affected him.
“It wasn’t easy, but at the same time, she was suffering from all the things she was going through, like the things she can’t do. She can’t walk, she can’t talk, but now I feel like she has a better place where she can do what she wants to do. She can walk, she can talk, she can be whatever she wants. Now she’s not suffocating on this earth.”
Jeudy added that his sister “taught me how to fight through adversity.”
Jerry Jeudy says his sister is always with him
Officially, Jerry Jeudy only wore those bright cleats with his sister’s name once last year.
That doesn’t mean that Jeudy isn’t always thinking about Aaliyah. In a video posted on the Broncos’ official Twitter account, Jeudy explained why he honored his sister on his cleats.
“She’s been with me every game,” Jeudy said, “but now being able to have her face on my cleats to really show people who I’m doing it for and knowing the reason why I’m doing it for her is going to be really exciting.”
All stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.