In our culture, we rarely honor a person properly before they die. And, once they pass on, we regret not being more open with our feelings.
So it was with Michael Jackson.
But we can make amends for our mistakes. Today, as one Michael Jackson is laid to rest in Los Angeles, we can choose to honor another Michael Jackson — one who was a public figure, but perhaps not quite the international star that the now-deceased pop singer was.
Yes, former Browns and Ravens receiver Michael Jackson.
So let’s take a moment to honor him while we still have the chance.
— Although you retired at age 29 in 1998, I always thought you were good enough to stick around for another year or two as a fifth receiver on a team with poor depth at the position.
— The other Michael Jackson wore one glove. You wore two gloves. So you definitely had him beat there.
— In 1996 your 16 TDs tied Atlanta’s Tony Martin for most receiving scores in the NFL. Wow. Michael Jackson and Tony Martin. What a piss poor season for NFL receivers. But, still — congratulations.
— You averaged 11.0 yards per carry during your career. Granted, this was on two carries, one of which went for 21 yards. But, if you wanted to, you could tell Jim Brown to suck it.
— Remember that great catch you had against the Bengals? I don’t. But chances are you had one. You played them twice a year for eight years and the Bengals blow. I hope you had one.
— Your playing height was 6’4″. Being tall is cool. Also, now in retirement, you can probably reach a lot of things around the house. So that’s probably a big help.
— As far as we know, in your three seasons in Baltimore — 1996 to 1998 — you never committed a crime. Well done. Also, in your 40 years as Michael Jackson, you never slept with a kid. Double well done.