It was back in October when Coach Steve Goralski and his Stevenson Titans football team hosted a cancer awareness game. Team captain Jerod Fisher wore a jersey with his grandpa’s name across the shoulders.
Well, actually it was grandpa’s nickname. “The Gray Ghost.”
The nickname came from Jerry Robinson’s time at both Grambling State University in Louisiana and his four years in the American Football League with both San Diego and the New York Jets.
Robinson, a three-time All-American at Grambling, ran a 4.2 in the 40 and covered the 100 in 9.4.
Legend has it, Jerry Robinson was so fast that he was a blur. Color that blur gray.
Jerry Robinson succumbed to liver cancer just last month. He and his grandson, Jerod, were very, very close.
“Jerod took it extremely hard, but he is a spiritual young man and that really helped him through his grandpa’s death,” said Fisher’s mother, Eklund. “He knows that pain is over and his grandpa is in a better place.”
Soon, Jerod Fisher will be creating his own footprints at Grambling. A defensive end, he has committed to playing for coach Doug Williams and his Tigers. When Williams was in the NFL, he led the Washington Redskins through the playoffs en route to a 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos. He was the first black quarterback to ever start in a Super Bowl.
Fisher is a defensive end. While he would like to play professional football just like his grandfather and his head coach, he has another goal.
“My grandpa talked to me a lot about how football is only a part of your life,” said Fisher. “He told me how important it was to get an education, too.”
Fisher wants to become an architectural engineer.
“I first took drafting in the eighth grade and that’s when my interest in architecture began,” said Fisher. “I’ve always been good in math, too.”
The senior’s mathematical skills were fully intact when he counted up the number of wins the Titans had accrued during his sophomore and junior seasons. Stevenson won exactly one game in 2011. In 2010, when Fisher was a sophomore, the team managed two victories.
“We actually had a lot of great players on last year’s team, but people were focused on themselves as individuals and not on the team,” said Fisher. “I think what I learned from that experience and as a captain this year was to let everyone know what we are here at Stevenson for and that is to win games as a team and to play together.”
That’s a message that Fisher, a team captain, conveyed both in words and deeds for the Titans this past season. Stevenson finished the season 6-4 and returned to the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
“Jerod is a great kid,” said Goralski. “He is a very good leader and as a captain, was definitely one of the seniors who, after a couple of bad seasons, said `All right, enough is enough.’ He’s a hard-working, very personable, young man. He’s a perfect gentleman and a good student.
Fisher plans on being around the ball for the Grambling Tigers, too. Coach Williams has indicated that Fisher will play at a linebacker spot.
Somewhere, the Gray Ghost is smiling. His grandson is following in his footsteps. Maybe not quite as quickly as they were originally laid down, but following them nonetheless.