Support comes from surprising places for ex-CU player - The Denver Post
PUEBLO — Former University of Colorado starting quarterback Bernard Jackson understands that a two-word summary hangs over him, follows him around, perhaps is unshakable.
As he prepares to play NCAA Division II football for the Colorado State-Pueblo ThunderWolves this season, Jackson is a "convicted felon," out of jail for less than a year and on probation until late 2014.
Jackson and former CU teammate Lionel Harris were convicted on felony charges of second-degree burglary and menacing in January 2009 in connection with a Boulder apartment robbery of victims whom authorities characterized as small-time drug dealers.
"I know what happens," Jackson, 25, said. "People think someone is a good guy at first, then
"I definitely want people to know that my heart and my intentions are where they should be. My thing now is to continue to prove people wrong. My goal is to get my degree and to change one person's life, no matter how that might be. That's something I take very seriously, and I know I made a mistake and I wouldn't want anybody to go down the road I took."
Jackson, a sociology major, said he is about 30 hours short of graduating. He is in Pueblo in part because of support he received from Broncos offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus and other former CU teammates, as well as from former CU coach Gary Barnett and CSU-Pueblo coach John Wristen and his staff.
Wristen was on Barnett's CU staff for the 1999-2005 seasons, so he knew Jackson well. As others spoke up for Jackson, lobbying Wristen to bring him on, the coach's major misgiving was that some people might interpret doing so as only a means to get a former Big 12 Conference starter into a program being built from the ground up. But Wristen decided that the important people involved, including the man he
"I really felt like not everybody deserves a second chance, but Bernard Jackson deserves a second chance," Wristen said. "In his heart, I believe he's a good kid. He understands that he made a mistake, he's owned up to it, he's paid his dues to society."
Jackson moved to Pueblo in July. He's living in an apartment at the edge of campus. He has not played a down of football in nearly four years. So, ask Jackson and Wristen about whether the former CU quarterback can be a productive college football player this fall, even at Division II, and neither is certain.
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