Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson missed multiple phone calls Sunday while he was eating brunch with his girlfriend, and he couldn’t believe what he heard when he returned a message from former Browns linebacker Andra Davis.
David McMillan, a fifth-round draft pick of the Browns in 2005, was shot and killed this past weekend in Georgia. The DeKalb County medical examiner confirmed the news for NFL.com after Fox Sports Ohio reported McMillan, 31, was fatally shot in an apparent robbery attempt.
McMillan, a former defensive end at the University of Kansas, spent three seasons with the Browns, serving as a backup outside linebacker and special teamer. Jackson, a 2006 second-round selection, plans to attend McMillan’s funeral in Atlanta.
“He was a good teammate,” Jackson said Monday during the 34th annual Akron Browns Backers banquet at Tangier restaurant. “He wouldn’t harm a fly. Outspoken guy. When he was here with the Browns, he developed relationships with big Ted Washington and Willie McGinest. It was a blast. It was fun being in that locker room with Dave.
“He was a good guy. We hadn’t been in touch every day, but we kept in touch enough to where I knew some friends of his who kind of updated me on how he was doing and whatnot. It’s just unfortunate. It’s sad news. He was too young and too good of a guy.”
Jackson attended the banquet to receive the Dino Lucarelli Good Guy Award. The local chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America voted Jackson as the winner of the award, which is given annually to a player for his cooperation with the media and for the way he carries himself in the community and with his teammates.
Jackson never hesitates to make poignant comments whether they’re about the memory of a friend, like McMillan, or a cause in which he believes.
For example, Jackson recently became an ambassador for Athlete Ally, an organization dedicated to ending homophobia in sports.
“I have friends that are gay and lesbian, and I just thought it was right just to bring some awareness to the locker room,” Jackson said. “Being a leader, if I think this is the right thing to do, maybe it can open some eyes of guys that are homophobic.
“At some point, there’s going to be a gay NFL player that comes out either this year, the next year or the year after, and you have to be ready to embrace it. And me being a leader in the Cleveland Browns locker room, it’s important that we welcome everyone.”
Jackson, of course, also discussed football. He’s impressed with outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, and he’s thrilled to play for new defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
“Everyone on that defensive side of the ball is going to be that much better because of Ray,” Jackson said. “He’s so smart, and he thinks outside of the box.”
Sad to leave
Former Browns wide receiver and three-time Pro Bowl kick returner Josh Cribbs discussed his recent signing with the Oakland Raiders on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access.
“I had some great times in Cleveland — it [was] just a lot of turnover among the organization,” Cribbs said. “I had four or five head coaches, four or five GMs, five different offensive playbooks, two different owners. I’m looking for some stability. I am upset I wasn’t able to finish my career in Cleveland. [I] love the fan base, but at the same time, this is an opportunity right now for a fresh start. Change can sometimes be a good thing, and I think it will be.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.