ST. LOUIS – Stacey Jackson wore her son’s football jersey as she hugged friends and family at his wake Friday night in St. Louis.
Across the room at Oak Grove Baptist Church, more than 400 people filed past Jerry Brown Jr.’s casket.
“His number was up. It was time for him to go meet God,” said Jackson, 44.
The 25-year-old Dallas Cowboys player was killed last Saturday when his teammate and best friend, Josh Brent, overturned his Mercedes on the way home from a Dallas club.
Irving police charged Brent with intoxication manslaughter, saying he was drinking and driving.
“[Brent] just knew that I was going to blame him or go off on him or hit him – but no,” Jackson explained. “Jerry would frown down on me if I did that, because that’s not the way I raised him.”
Jerry’s mother shared what she told Brent when she saw him for the first time at the memorial service in Dallas this week. She also revealed a detail police have yet to publicize.
“He wouldn’t want you to blame yourself, because both of y’all didn’t have seat belts,” Jackson said. “It was like a little burden lifted off [Brent.]”
Jerry was her first son and Theresa Clark’s oldest grandson, whom she affectionately nicknamed "Chocolate Drop."
“I said, 'Come on over here, you little chocolate drop' – you know because we’re so dark complected and everything," Clark said, smiling proudly. "I said, 'Come on over here my little chocolate drop.’”
Sympathy cards stand alongside Christmas stockings at her South St. Louis home. She told News 8 that Jerry wouldn’t want people to be mad at Josh.
“Heavens no, that’s just the type of person Jerry was. No, we’re not mad. If anybody should be mad, we should be mad. But we’re not mad," Clark explained. "That boy loved him. That was his friend. It was just an accident."
Clark describes Josh as humble and kind. She said she doesn't want him prosecuted.
“I’ve forgiven him, because he has enough on his plate with just reliving the whole thing over and over and over, and that’s going to be for the rest of his life,” Jackson said.
Forgiveness, like faith, is a feature of the family.
Jerry Brown, Jr. grew up in a crime-ridden public housing project and went on to eventually play in the NFL, leaving a legacy that dreams aren’t always out of reach.
Brown’s funeral will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. inside St. Louis’ Hope Well Baptist Church, which seats 1,000 people.
Neither Brent nor anyone from the Dallas Cowboys are expected to attend. The team held a memorial service last week. Instead, several of Brown’s former coaches and his agent are expected to pay tribute to the 25 year old, exactly one week after his death.