Cornerback Adoree' Jackson
Q: You go way back with [Cornerback] Darnay Holmes. How much was he in your ear when you became available? And what is your relationship with him and how cool is it to be able to come full circle like this as two kids from the L.A. area
A: Yeah, that's my guy. Known him at Calabasas. He's from the Pasadena area, so I've seen him play. I've played with one of his big homies. We just kept on seeing more and he always talked highly of him, so we went to go see him play. I was proud to see his success even though he went across town to UCLA to play. Always kept an eye on him and seen the things that he's done. He's been tremendous coming out, so I was excited. When he texted me, I didn't have the number saved, but I knew who it was – I'd seen the area code and I'm like, 'This has got to be Darnay,' so we were just chopping it up. He's a cool dude, a down-to-earth dude and you need people like that in your life.
Q: What did it mean to have all those guys pushing you to come here? I know [Safety] Logan [Ryan] flew in from Florida and you have a relationship with him, but what did it mean to have all these players on the team currently contacting you like that?
A: It meant a lot really to just have people reach out and be able to pick their brains and see what they're like, about the team and what they dislike maybe, but everybody spoke highly of it. It was just great to have people want me to come here. Probably getting recruited, some kids in college they probably shied away from that and didn't really want to recruit, but these guys were on it. I know [Safety Jabrill Peppers] hit me up and so it was one of those things where it just felt good.
Q: Adoree', welcome to New York. What do you think of the football team you're joining and what was the real reason that you ended up joining this team?
A: I've just got to thank the Mara and the Tisch families first and foremost for appreciating me and wanting me, [Senior Vice President and General Manager Dave] Gettleman and [Head] Coach Joe [Judge]. It's just one of those things where being able to talk to them, meet them face to face and see what type of people they were, see how genuine they were and the conversations that we had, which really played a factor in my decision by far. The players can tell you one thing, but it's about meeting everybody, seeing them – that's why I wanted to take the visit, see body language, see how they act, see if everything would match up from what I was hearing on the phone and see the person, so I just want to thank them again for giving me this opportunity.
Q: You mentioned before Logan Ryan and what it meant for him to come up to recruit you. I'm just wondering, what's it mean to you to be reunited with him? For you to be reunited with him – I'm guessing he's always been a big brother to you, so what does that mean for you to kind of be back with him and has he already taken you under his wing again and gotten you orientated to the team?
A: When I came out in 2017, that was the first time I connected with him and I always text him all the time and tell him how much I appreciate him, not just for what he does on the football field, but off it just being a good person. So I was just excited, fired up because he was actually the first person that reached out as soon as he heard the rumors or the news that I got released. He was the first person to hit me up, just talking to me and seeing what's going on. It's just a good feeling, it just shows you what type of guy he is and just wanting to see how I was doing personally, not even talking football, just checking up on me. Just to be back reunited playing football with him, I'm just excited because he's a smart guy, he's a good guy and I just speak highly of him because he did a lot for me in Tennessee and I'm just thankful for him.
Q: You had the injury last year and injuries tend to stunt a young guy's development. I'm just wondering, what more do you feel that you can show people that you haven't been able to show because of the injury stunting that development?
A: I don't really view it as stunting development. You always hear the term, 'A minor setback for a major comeback' – as long as you stay mentally sharp and make sure you're on top of everything. You've got to have your mind and spirit all aligned and if those two are aligned, it's easy for you to go out there and the physical aspects will follow. For me, just doing what I've been doing and staying the course – Nipsey Hussle used to talk about 'It's a marathon, not a sprint,' and for me just staying on this marathon that I've been through. I've experienced the highs and the lows and just keep going, keep grinding, keep battling them. I'm picking peoples' brains, I've talked to Champ Bailey before and everybody like Logan, [Darrelle] Revis, so I'm just trying to make sure I pick ones that I see and I want to implement them in my game after I pick their brains. Just put little things in my game and try to get better.
Q: Hey Adoree', we all know that you're a playmaker with the ball in your hands going back to college and even rookie year as a return man, but you haven't done a ton of it since your rookie season. I was wondering if the Giants talked to you about doing that as well as playing corner and if that's something you want to do, or do you look at yourself more as a straight corner, defender and that's not part of your game anymore?
A: I'm just looking to do whatever they ask me to do. It's one of those things where I was blessed and fortunate to be presented this opportunity to come here and play. I just remember my junior year in college and Coach let me go run track all through the offseason and said when I come back to football, just do what I ask. I feel that same mindset, that same mentality. Whatever is asked of me to do – if they want me to just go play corner, I'll play corner. If they say I might return or they just put me out there to block for Peps (Jabrill Peppers) out there returning, I'm going to block for him. I just want to see the team succeed and that's what I want to bring to the table, just a team aspect, a team player. Wherever I'm needed, just go out there and help.
Q: We keep asking you a lot about your relationship with Logan Ryan because he sort of got that ball rolling when he posted the picture of the two of you guys out when he ran into you 'when he was out in the city.' If you could just take us a little bit into the conversations you did have with him about the Giants, about what really had your mind set to come here, what you wanted to know about the Giants and [Defensive Coordinator] Patrick Graham in order to come play here?
A: Just, I know Logan, he's going to shoot it to you straight no matter what. He won't sugarcoat anything, so the deal was just chop it up with him and talk to him about what he likes and he said it's a first-class organization. Logan's been a lot of places and for him to speak so highly, and just him keeping his word. I trust him, he'll tell me one thing on the field, I'm going to listen to him and trust him because I know he's not going to put me in a situation to fail. So that was the same thing we were talking about when we were eating dinner. I know that if he's going to say something, he's not going to try to put me in a situation that will hinder me or hurt me. He just wants the best for me, so that's how those conversations were going between us.
Q: Hey Adoree', take us through what a visit is like. Also, in your words, what happened last year in Tennessee? There's a lot of people saying a lot of different things. I want to know, in your opinion, what was that season like for you?
A: The visit, in a sense, I guess was kind of like being in college and getting recruited all over again. It was just me going out there trying to meet all the coaches, talking to them, the ups and everybody down from there just to see what was going on with the organization. It felt like family, it felt like home and it felt good. I always talk about trying to be comfortable and being at peace, so that's what I felt when I was out there on the visit. Last year, I think it was a little bit of adversity for me. I've never been through adversity – God was fortunate enough to bless me all the way until the end. I think it was just me staying the course, staying focused and keeping faith, and understanding that at the end God will always prevail and that's just what I did, try to remain focused and keep faithful. In my relationship with God, I understand just a little hiccup in the road and things will be alright in the end, and it ended up working out.
Q: In terms of what you bring, we've heard scouting reports, we've watched you on film. In your mind, I don't know if you had to sell yourself to the Giants a little bit, but if you have to sell yourself to Giants fans of what they're getting from you on the field, how do you fit into this secondary?
A: I just want to say they're getting a team player. They're getting somebody who's going to be compatible with what the guys want and what the coaches want, who's going to go out there and do his job. Bring a lot fun, try to bring some excitement because when you're having fun playing ball, everybody's having fun playing ball, so that's just what I want to bring to the defense, a lot of fun and a lot of excitement and a lot of joy. Try to keep a smile on everyone's faces because it's a long season, you're going to have ups and you're going to have downs, but you want to keep progressing up this way, so for me just trying to be that positive person in peoples' ears and bring that positivity to the team.
Q: Adoree', a lot of times a guy comes to a team and there's a get-to-know-you period. You guys seem to know each other already. Is that going to help you on the field? And if I know defensive backs, you guys are already kicking around nicknames for your group. Has any come up so far?
A: I've seen a lot on Twitter, the 'NYPD.' I keep seeing everybody say that with nicknames, but just being able to know a lot of people it just makes you more comfortable and it's easier to hold each other accountable because you won't be shy to hurt somebody's feelings. They know how you act, you know how they act, you're just able to be cohesive and not bump heads when you're out there. So being able to just learn, pick peoples' brains and just compete. And that's the fun thing knowing Pep, I like [S Xavier] McKinney's game, I love Darnay, [CB James] Bradberry, so it's just going to be a bunch of competition out there amongst us out there on the back end. I'm just excited about that, to be able to know some guys, just feel like I'm not coming into new faces and got to introduce myself – some people I do – but it's just going to be a more comfortable feeling.
Q: Hey Adoree', I wanted to ask you two things. I wanted to ask you what your previous relationship is with [Defensive Lineman] Leonard Williams? And why do you think New York is the right place for you to maybe take your game to another level?
A: With Leonard, I played with him one year at USC. He was a beast dominating out there on the end playing in the trenches. Our relationship is, you know, we're cordial, like we might text back and forth, shoot a message here on DM's. But he's just a good guy just by knowing him my freshman year and being able to see how he performed and how he competed and how he carried himself. And just about bringing my play here, just talking to PG, [Defensive Backs] Coach [Jerome Henderson] – and I talked to Rome and he said he had Darelle Revis his first two years and just seeing how he developed. Talking to Bradberry, talking to Logan and they spoke highly of him and so that's what I think that I was looking for. Coach Rome played the game and he was telling me about the ins and outs and everything about him playing and what he expects and what he's looking for, and I accepted that as a challenge to come prove myself and compete.
Q: Darnay was one of the guys that was touting his recruiting of you a little bit. What do you remember of him? He was at a camp of yours, if that's correct?
A: We were at the Nike opening camp up in Oregon when they were doing it there and I just remember him being in Calabasas when he was coming out – I think that was his junior or senior year he went to Calabasas – but I always heard a lot about him. I played both ways in high school and they kept saying like, 'This Darnay kid is the truth,' so I actually went to go see him play and I was like, he's like that. So it was just me wishing that I had that person in my ear just to be able to talk to, just to be around and just to show him the ropes, whatever it may be, if he had any questions because I didn't really have that when I was coming out and I just always wanted to be that for somebody else. And for him just to be as humble as he is, as nice as he is and genuine to accept everything that I was trying to teach him and give him. He was a cool kid and down to earth, and that's how our relationship actually started, just from hearing about him, then I went to go watch him play, I actually typed his highlights up on YouTube and saw him and I was like, 'Yo, he's the truth.' It was just me trying to help him any way I could. He was going to be great regardless, but I was trying to help him.
Q: Just as an unrelated follow, the Jets just brought in [Wide Receiver] Corey Davis. What's your familiarity with him, which is a lot obviously, and what's your opinion of him as a receiver?
A: That's my guy. I was excited for him last year with everything that he'd been through and to be able to go out there, perform and compete. To go to New Jersey, New York, the Jets and to be able to play and get the opportunity to shine, I'm just happy for him really. Just knowing we came out the same year, both in the same class, first round picks. He's my guy, he's a dog, you see him out there, he's competing, run after the catch, he brings a lot to the table and I'm excited to see what he does.
Q: Adoree', this may sound stupid after all these questions, but do you prefer 'Adoree'' or 'AJ' or what?
A: I go just by Adoree'. I never really got into the initial 'AJ' thing, I don't know why. I just like my name. If I had a different first name and I probably would've wanted something different and I probably would've called myself that way. I just like hearing my name. My mom calls me 'Sweet Pea,' whatever it may be. A lot of people call me 'Deuce' because I wore 2 at USC, but I'm open to hear what you guys got or any suggestions if there's something I like.
Q: Now to the real question, when you come to the Giants are you coming here because a lot of people say it's money, it's friendships – I mean, most guys will say, 'I want to win,' but this team hasn't won in 10 years.
A: Well, I do want to win and talking to Coach Judge and seeing what he did last year, and then understanding that I've been through that process. First year in, probably didn't go how you wanted it, but having a foundation and being able to build on that foundation, and having guys around that I've talked to that say they understand what he's looking for and what he wants – just everybody being on the same page and being cohesive, that's the biggest thing. You having guys that compete, guys that are ball players like the Giants have, you want to be a part of that and you want to play with guys like that and be a part of that team.
Q: Adoree', have you played against [Wide Receiver] Kenny Golladay?
A: I haven't. I actually liked his game when he was with the Lions. I'd actually seen him play a couple times. My first game back, we played Detroit, but he wasn't out there. But I liked his game a lot and what he brings to the table – speedy guy, goes out there and does his thing. I play Madden and I had him before on my team, so he did me justice. Kenny, if you're watching this and you see this, you did me some justice out there on Madden Franchise.
Q: Did his signing make it more appealing for you to come to the Giants? Like, hey, other free agents are coming here – I know you knew Logan and Jabrill, but other big guys are coming here, maybe I want to join the party kind of thing?
A: I talked to [Wide Receiver John] Ross. That's my guy, I talked to him and he said come to New York. When he said that, I didn't know which New York he was talking about and when I saw he signed, I said, 'Okay.' I kept asking my mom for clarity and stuff, and then I saw Kenny was going around, so I wondered where Kenny was going to go. So I was just chilling, waiting and then next thing I know he's signing with the Giants and I was like, 'Well, that's a lot of clarity right there.' To be able to go battle and compete against guys like that in practice, so when it's game time you can just go out there and play ball.
Q: Two quick things for you. I was wondering in your conversations with Joe Judge, what kind of sold you on coming here? And there's so much talk about the culture that he's building. What's kind of been relayed to you about the culture of this team from the guys that you already knew here?
A: Well, what sold me was him just being straightforward and straight up. It was comfortable just being able to talk to him, your head coach, just being comfortable and talk face to face, laugh here and laugh there and to be able to kind of relate in a sense and understand each other, so that was one of the things that kind of sold me on him. About the culture that he's bringing, it's just something that you feel and you know and what you want to see. If I was a coach, I would want some of those similarities, so understanding that everything that he was saying was lining up with what I wanted to be as a player and what I wanted to do, and from the team aspect it just makes sense for me.