The Ravens signed safety Tony Jefferson this offseason.
Here are five things to know about him:
1) He’s a huge 'Madden' fan, and used it to help pick Ravens
Jefferson is such a big fan of "Madden" that he used the video game when preparing for free agency.
"I am a guy of swagger, so I gotta check the swag at all points before I make a decision," Jefferson told NFL.com. "I put myself in different uniforms on Madden to see what will look better. Ravens did look good, though."
Jefferson's favorite Ravens uni combo? "Black on blacks, no question," he said.
When Jefferson was packing for his trip to Baltimore after agreeing to a contract, he dumped out his backpack and loaded in his PlayStation first. “I gotta pack this; I take it wherever I go,” he said.
2) He could’ve been a boxer
Jefferson’s father, Tony, was a promising boxer in the early 1990s. He was apparently close to being on the 1992 U.S. Olympic team with Oscar de la Hoya, Shane Mosley and Larry Donald. While Jefferson’s father was all about his son boxing, his mother was not. Still, the younger Jefferson boxed from 11 to 15 years old. Nicknamed ‘Cobra’ because of his fast hands and swift movements, he says he was undefeated in local tournaments. He worked out with his father’s trainer, and for two months dropped football to focus on boxing. In the end, Jefferson missed football too much and returned to the sport. Good call.
3) He claims he was visited by a ghost
In the 2015 season, the Arizona Cardinals had back-to-back games in Detroit and Pittsburgh, so they decided to stay in the area between games instead of flying home. That’s when Jefferson claims he was visited by a ghost while staying at the team hotel – The Greenbrier in West Virginia. The Greenbrier Ghost is a classic story in ghost lore. Here’s Jefferson’s tale:
“One day I was in my room. It was about to be curfew. I was hearing a knock on my door, I thought it was my teammates so I went and opened the door, but it was coming from my closet. I opened it and there was nothing in there. I go sit back down on my bed and I hear little whispers. I’m like, ‘Bro, stop playing! Who’s in here?’ It sounded like a girl. I got really scared, so I slept with all the lights on every night. I was just glad I was alive.”
4) He’s a West Coast guy
The farthest east Jefferson has ever lived is Oklahoma, where he played for three years with the Sooners. Jefferson grew up in San Diego, then spent the first four years of his NFL career in Arizona. Jefferson certainly isn’t experienced with snow, so when it dumped on Maryland earlier this week, new teammate (and a San Diego guy himself) Eric Weddle picked him up at his hotel to drive him to work. Jefferson, his parents and three siblings grew up in his grandmother’s house, and his parents still live there. Jefferson is eager to move his parents out now that he got his new deal.
5) He’s a big fan of In-N-Out Burger And Mexican Food
It seems Jefferson likes his unhealthy foods. Last offseason, as Cardinals players were departing for their summer break, Strength and Conditioning Coach Buddy Morris called Jefferson fat. He had gotten up to 216 pounds and had 13 percent body fat. At that point, Jefferson decided to dedicate himself. He was up at 4 a.m. for runs, then would go to 24-Hour Fitness and work out. At 6 p.m. every night, he’d go box. He also had to change his diet. He went through two “hell weeks” where he ate the same things nearly every day: boiled eggs and bananas for breakfast, a Caesar salad from the Cheesecake Factory for lunch and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, scrambled eggs and bacon for dinner. He reported to training camp at 200 pounds and six percent body fat, and it helped him have a breakout season – particularly in coverage.
“It was rough, because I live across the street from In-N-Out, and you can smell In-N-Out from my house,” Jefferson told USA Today. “But I had the right mindset. I think it made me mentally strong, and it helped with life in general, fighting through things.
“Basically, I said, ‘You need to stop playing around. You’re wasting your career. It’s already been three years. You’re still a bottom-seed guy and nobody is willing to give you the contract you think you’re capable of [receiving].’”
Jefferson got the contract he wanted with the Ravens. In his farewell message to the Cardinals and their fans, he ended it with, “Oh & shout out to Los Favoritos for the Bomb Mexican food.”