World News – CA – Jack Easterby’s path to Texans defined by his faith and energy


Full of energy and with a bounce in his stride, Jack Easterby hit the Texans’ training ground on Friday morning He greeted each stretching player with a smile and a few encouraging words

Easterby, the team’s interim general manager, frequently sends messages to players and staff, reminding them of the importance of humility and character, not judging others based on their titles or of their status and to be passionate about serving others

Those who know Easterby best noted his strong Christian faith, interpersonal skills, intelligence, and intense desire to absorb new skills. This includes negotiating contracts, managing the salary cap and how to conduct staff reviews during his time in New England under Bill Belichick.

As a key executive, Easterby has helped establish and maintain the ultra-focused Patriots culture as part of Belichick’s inner circle

Former captain of a deeply religious basketball and golf team, graduate with distinction and graduate in sports management from Newberry College, Easterby, 37, has taken a non-traditional path to lead an NFL team

From his time as a team chaplain in Kansas City to that of a character coach involved in team development with the Patriots, Easterby has become an important figure within a Texas organization that hit a 1 to 6 crossroads after sacking coach and general manager Bill O’Brien

A close confidant of Texans President and CEO Cal McNair, Easterby has once helped the Chiefs and Patriots through turbulent times following some of the worst crises in NFL history

« Jack is one of the most special people I’ve ever had the opportunity to be friends with in my life, » said Tampa Bay kicker Ryan Succop, who got to know Easterby when they were both at the University of South Carolina « I’ve never seen someone pour out into people and really invest in people like they’ve done, and it’s genuine He’s a natural leader I think he would be a great leader of. an organization, so I’m not at all surprised

« I think the Texans are in great shape with someone like Jack in their apartment building He’s just a special person and I think whatever he does he’ll be successful because he just has these gifts to lead. people, running organizations and I think he will do a great job there for a long time « 

A former academic advisor and head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes who worked with South Carolina men’s basketball coach Dave Odom and women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley, Easterby joined the Chiefs to conduct their Bible studies on the recommendation of Succop to Kansas City General Manager Scott Pioli

After Easterby joined the Chiefs, linebacker Jovan Belcher committed suicide in the parking lot outside the stadium Arrowhead Belcher, who killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, shot himself in the head in front then Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel, now interim coach of the Texans, with Pioli and linebackers coach Gary Gibbs

A seminary alumnus Easterby helped guide leaders through the grieving process following this tragedy on December 1, 2012

“It was a really tough situation in Kansas City,” Succop said “Your heart is broken Jack was really able to help our team, our organization, get through this situation The way he was able to do it was something that I always rethink

« I always thought that in really tough situations you sort of find out what people are doing Jack showed exactly who he was during that time I’ve never seen a person invest and spill over into so much people than Jack I’m very grateful to have someone like Jack in my life who I can talk to and talk about these things because he’s been such a blessing « 

Easterby was hired by the Patriots in 2013 after tight winger Aaron Hernandez was arrested for murder While in New England, Easterby held a multi-faceted role that included advising the players and their families and organizing Bible studies, assisting coaching staff with field exercises and being involved in staff and character assessments

While Easterby was in New England, he hooked up with wide receiver Brandin Cooks, now with the Texans

“My time with Jack in New England and here has been nothing but amazing,” Cooks said “At the end of the day he’s a great man He’s been nothing but great for me He’s a guy who I think is going to be great for the future, anyway

« He connects very well with people His faith is the foundation for him I think the way he is able to connect with all walks of life says a lot about who he is »

It’s that kind of consistency and purposeful clarity that Easterby applies to life and football as he tries to put the Texans back on a winning track in a season gone bad after he won back-to-back AFC South Division titles

Texans lean on Easterby for transition Easterby was elevated to acting GM from executive vice president of football operations after O’Brien was fired after a 0 start -4 McNair is considering possibly hiring a permanent GM and an Easterby head coach is expected to be among the GM candidates

“I think Jack is a really good person,” said Crennel “He’s smart In New England, he started his ascent in the business, learning about the staff, learning about operations and all these things

« It allowed him to work well with O’Brien when he came here He is conscientious He is a hard worker He will do what is necessary for the players and give them a chance to succeed »

Since joining the Texans, Easterby has been involved in contract negotiations He has worked with director of football administration Kevin Krajcovic on contracts for quarterback Deshaun Watson, offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and linebacker Zach Cunningham

Originally considered an enigma upon arriving in Houston, Easterby built his relationships with the players as he grew in the organization

“We’re still getting to know each other,” Watson said “I know last year he just got here, so he was kind of backstage, and I saw him here. and there Not too much communication, but it was just trying to understand his position and place in the organization

« During the season we just grew up He’s a man of God who cares about this organization, these players He cares about the players in this locker room to be the best of their ability and get everything out that they can of their career Having this good positive energy and this spirit around the locker room is really good « 

A friend of Belichick, Tom Brady and several other top athletes and coaches, the roots and beliefs of Easterby in South Carolina guided him to this important stage in his career.

« I was never in the NFL, I didn’t even play football, » Easterby wrote in a Christian website column « It all started with the burden Jesus put on my heart to be a generation breaker, helping others overcome their sins through an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus This is my passion, this is my calling It started with a Bible study in my house for the basketball team, then moved on to a Monday night study for all the athletes on campus, which got me then led to the chaplaincy

“When some of these athletes continued to play professionally, I found myself talking to Olympic professionals, other sports teams, and then at the seminar I didn’t imagine myself a chaplain It wasn’t my long term goal, but it was what the Lord wanted « 

Former South Carolina baseball coach Chad Holbrook called Easterby « a true leader, a true champion and a true role model who will always ensure that the organization is on the right track »

Mark E Ross, pastor of Easterby since childhood and later his professor at Erskine Theological Seminary, praised him for his leadership skills

« He is a friend you would never want to lose, » said Ross « He is eager to learn and keen to help others learn I saw it in him as a student of my class and I saw him grow in him as he made his way through the world of sports He rose in circles far above my own position in life, and yet in the times when we’ve been talking together since he evolved, he retains the same energy and humility that I have always found in him, along with the wisdom and patience that come with maturity and seasoning in difficult situations « 

George Mason’s athletic director Brad Edwards, a former NFL security, hired Easterby to help him at Newberry

“Jack would have been a perfect fit to be Newberry’s athletic director if he hadn’t chosen to continue in the NFL,” said Edwards “Instead, I asked him to consult with me on looking for coaches to engage his unique ability to bring people together to create championship-caliber programs »

Following an internship with the Jacksonville Jaguars which included working under the direction of Director of Football Administration Tim Walsh, Easterby enrolled in seminar classes He then became the academic advisor for the south carolina men’s basketball

“We were looking for a young man with leadership potential who could help us with academics and a variety of fields, and hiring Jack was a great decision for Coach Odom,” said Ken Potosnak, Odom’s assistant coach who hired Easterby “Jack had a really special way with the players He could give them endless positive reinforcement and energy, and that was evident in the campus community

« Anyone could see that Jack was mature beyond his years and that there was no job too big or too small for Jack. He played a really important role in helping players grow. develop as men in life « 

Initially, Staley wasn’t sure what to think of Easterby when she saw him jump up and down to urge players to South Carolina women’s basketball games She couldn’t help but notice his energy

“Jack is a cool guy, a genuine guy, and he was our spiritual leader,” Staley said on Friday “If you didn’t know him just looking at him you might think he’s a corn ball or that he’s not real I probably thought that until I got to know him watching him jump out of his seat People are skeptical at first, but if you have a conversation with him you understand that Jack is a divine man, a man of faith The players loved him

« The way he goes about everything, it’s different, it’s contagious and he’s like that every day of the week He actually shared with us the message he shared with the Texans This is NFL players and grown men, but they are human beings and athletes like my players He has so much knowledge in him It’s a gift He texts me all the time He does it all the time When he came on board as our chaplain and character coach, we saw our program change for the better It was more positive and we had a better understanding of our why « 

Unlike many NFL GMs who have extensive experience in scouting or coaching, Easterby reached this stage through an unconventional path He helped guide the Patriots through the Hernandez ordeal, the Deflategate controversy four Super Bowl races in six years

“Jack is different and he jumped a few steps up the ladder because of what he did with the Patriots,” said Staley “That doesn’t mean he didn’t do the work He just took a different ladder that didn’t have so many steps

« He’s able to use what he’s learned in that New England environment and apply it to what he’s doing now with the Texans I’m so excited to see what Jack will do with this opportunity, because of everything he does « 

Aaron Wilson is a Texas writer for the Houston Chronicle, joining the newspaper in August 2015 He was a beaten Baltimore Ravens writer from 2001 to 2015, working for The Baltimore Sun, including the cover of Super Bowl XLVII, the domestic violence case Ray Rice and the careers of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Jonathan Ogden, and previously covered the team for the Carroll County Times and the capital of Annapolis

This is the second time the Washington, DC native has covered the AFC South, previously covering the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars

Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL

World News – CA – Jack Easterby’s path to Texans defined by his faith and energy


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