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Jesse W. Solomon3

Posted on December 4th, 2015 in Uncategorized

Mr. Jesse W. Solomon

Mr. Jesse W. Solomon

Mr. Jesse W. Solomon

Circle of Gold

Football—a game of statistics—can quantify just about everything.  But the one metric the experts have not been able to measure is the size of a man’s heart.  This has been Jesse Solomon’s greatest strength.

One of seven children, who grew up poor in Madison County, the song of Solomon could have ended up a different tune, but through faith, hard work, and heart, Jesse Solomon would wind up owning the 115-acre farm on which he hauled tobacco leaves as a kid for less than minimum wage.  Football and education were his tickets to success.

He played only one year of high school football and walked on at Florida State.  The 1986 NFL draft was almost over when the Minnesota Vikings selected him in the 12th round.  Despite all their technology, the NFL scouts had no way of knowing how much desire was in Jesse Solomon’s heart.  Ten years later, after 116 games and over 800 tackles….they knew.

Solomon played in the NFC Championship Game with the Vikings, and later wore the colors of the Cowboys, The Buccaneers, the Falcons and the Dolphins, earning a reputation as a swift, hard-hitting linebacker…and an even better teammate.

From that very first year of pro football he talked teammates into coming to his small hometown in the offseason to take part in a youth football clinic.  The biggest names of the day, including Troy Aikman, Hassan Jones, Micheal Irvin, and Nate Newton, came to Jesse’s camp in Madison.

The clinic went on for ten straight years and included a banquet at which Solomon awarded scholarships to one deserving boy and one deserving girl—20 scholarships in all.

In retirement, Solomon has followed his heart in another direction, helping former athletes who fall on hard times.  Since you are here tonight, who know well the impact the Athletes Care Association has had on the lives of former Seminoles, whose failing health or family and financial circumstances have placed them in a perilous position. Countless FSU alumni have been helped by the work of the association under Solomon’s leadership.

Heart.

There’s no way to measure it.  But it is possible to recognize it.

(Courtesy FSU Alumni Association)