During Week 1 of the ensuing NFL season, I was sitting down at a San Diego bar watching the Raiders play the Saints. I see a Raiders running back take a hand off to the house. 75 yard touchdown. I see the back of his jersey while he celebrates in the endzone……”Richard”. NO FUCKING WAY. I still didn’t know a damn thing about Jalen other than this: He went undrafted. He sought help. He got denied. He still found his way. That’s all any one person should really need to know about another human being.
I walked outside of the bar, took my phone out of my pocket and called Ray. The kid had at least earned an introduction. Ray was doing better at that point, but he still wasn’t out of the woods. When Ray picked up, I explained the entire story with Jalen. Ray brightened up at the prospect of mentoring a young running back in the NFL. I brightened up at the fact that I heard my homie sound energized again. Maybe I should have made the introduction earlier. Maybe I shouldn’t have made it at all. I was nervous about bringing Ray back close to anything NFL related. I contacted Jalen and said that I would make the intro if there was still interest. Jalen was elated. He could not WAIT to talk to Ray. It was like telling a 9-year-old that you would introduce them to their favorite super hero.
Ray and Jalen began speaking consistently throughout the 2016 NFL season and they became very close. I stepped away, let them do their thing and went back to focusing on my businesses. It was perfect. Jalen was given the introduction to Ray. Ray was able to mentor again. And I didn’t need to be involved any longer. Everybody wins.
My work was done…