Early Influence: Gerald Alexander

Before training camps kick off, a number of players and some coaches will pay tribute to people who helped them make it to the NFL as part of the AFC South Blog’s summer series: “Early Influence.”

Gerald Alexander, Jaguars safety

“It was my father, Lamar Alexander. When I was younger, he introduced me to the game of football, and playing youth football he was my coach. I think early on that kind of gave me the foundation as a player -- how much you should respect the coach. My dad could turn from football coach to Pops any minute. He was pretty much my early influence. He coached me from seven to 13, every year before I went to high school.

“I still talk to him today and he’ll give me advice and criticism, how I did, what I should do and things like that.

“Confidence was a big theme. And obviously you’ve got to be tough in front of your dad, you can’t be crying. Toughness, discipline and confidence, those were pretty much instilled in me early, to believe in my abilities and go out there and execute them to the fullest.”

“I think it was very instrumental for me because it obviously gave me the foundation for working hard. I don’t know if anybody could have taught me when I was younger the same way he could. It definitely helped me get to where I am now. You get a lot of life lessons from the game of football.”