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Where are they now: John Jefferson

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. robdog
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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.chargers.com/news/headline_detail.cfm?news_key=2528">Chargers.com</a>

    <img width="304" height="153" alt="John Jefferson" id="image1867" src="http://bolttalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/01/343_jefferson_78-80.jpg" />

    By Jay Jay Maniquis

    It's been 20 years since John "J.J." Jefferson laced up the cleats, but the former Chargers wide receiver can't seem to get football out of his system. He's found ways to stay connected with the game he loves.<font size="-1" face="verdana, arial, geneva, san-serif" class="body3">"I don't know if I'll ever be away from football," Jefferson said. "I enjoy watching all the teams and keeping track of what's going on in both the professional and college games. It's a part of me."</font>

    <font size="-1" face="verdana, arial, geneva, san-serif" class="body3">As the 14th overall pick in the 1978 draft, Jefferson immediately established himself in the then newly branded "Air Coryell" offense. While in San Diego, Jefferson donned the cover of Sports Illustrated as the "Touchdown Man" and quickly became a fan favorite.</font>

    <font size="-1" face="verdana, arial, geneva, san-serif" class="body3">He made the Pro Bowl in each of his three seasons with the Chargers and led the NFL in touchdown catches as a rookie. Following the 1980 season, Jefferson was traded to Green Bay where he played four seasons before finishing his career with Marty Schottenheimer's Cleveland Browns in 1985.</font>

    <font></font>Unlike many former NFL players who pursue careers in coaching or broadcasting, Jefferson found his niche in the front office. He currently serves as Director of Player Development with the Washington Redskins.

    "I tried coaching at the University of Kansas and I enjoyed it," Jefferson said. "But my kids were pretty young at the time and I was consistently in the office until 2 a.m. By the time I got home, they were already in bed, and they were rarely awake yet when I left in the mornings. I kind of drifted out of coaching and delved into the administrative part of it so that I could be involved in the game I love yet still spend time with the people that I love."

    After a he hung up his whistle, Jefferson spent five years as the Director of Student-Athlete Life at Kansas. He moved to the Nation's Capital in March of 2000. Through his current post, Jefferson guides players through their careers with the hopes of success in their lives after football. He provides counseling and serves as a mentor for the players in addition to keeping them up to date on educational and business opportunities.

    "I enjoy helping guys and watching them go on to do well after their playing days are over," Jefferson said. "Seeing them get back in school, earn degrees and take advantage of internships is what it's all about. I enjoy helping them get there."

    Having shared similar situations with many of the players he now assists, Jefferson understands how difficult it can be to establish a new career after football.

    "Getting the players to understand the transition is the biggest thing," Jefferson said. "Making them good citizens off the field and continuing their relationship at home with their wives and kids is the most important aspect of my job."

    Though Jefferson may be assisting players excel in life after football, he still holds onto memories of his incredible start with the Chargers.

    "I was fortunate to be there during ht early stages of the ‘Air Coryell' years," Jefferson said. "We started throwing the ball around unlike any other team. It caught on throughout the league and created a lot of excitement."

    As a Charger, Jefferson had 17 100-yard games, three 1,000-yard seasons and 36 touchdown catches.

    "We were pioneers," Jefferson said. "We had a good group of guys. I keep in contact with Charlie Joiner, Kellen Winslow, and I had an opportunity to see Dan Fouts when he was working with Monday Night Football. Those were incredible times."

    In Washington, Jefferson is now reunited with Joe Gibbs, who was his offensive coordinator during two of his three seasons with the Bolts. Gibbs came out of retirement to return to the gridiron because just like Jefferson, he couldn't get enough football.

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