Justin Jefferson's title-winning LSU teammates littered the NFL in his rookie season, but he had to wait for Year 2 to see his former wide receiver room make their debut on Sundays.
Ja'Marr Chase landed with the Cincinnati Bengals -- and Joe Burrow -- while Terrace Marshall landed with the Carolina Panthers. Jefferson's Minnesota Vikings face both over the first six weeks of the season, games that the St. Rose native says are circled on his calendar.
The Vikings also face off with the Cleveland Browns in Week 4, a team featuring two more former LSU star wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
"Me and Ja’Marr have been talking about this first game coming up ever since he was drafted," Jefferson said, speaking from a fitness event he was hosting in Kenner. "It’s definitely going to be an exciting one. Going up against my old LSU teammates is always a joy to be in. It’s going to be a crazy Week 1 for sure."
Jefferson, a native of St. Rose, was back in Louisiana to help lead a "Building Better Lives" event with Optimum Nutrition. Jefferson signed shaker bottles for kids in attendance and joined Louisiana trainers Eric Capers and Josey Till to lead a workout session. The event was held indoors in Kenner due to inclement weather.
The program is aimed at bringing fitness programs and resources to Jefferson's home community, one of the first meaningful outreach programs the former LSU star has been able to participate in since entering the NFL. The coronavirus pandemic limited options throughout Jefferson's stellar debut season, in which he landed No. 2 in the rookie of the year voting behind L.A. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.
“With COVID last year there were so many limits to what you could actually do," Jefferson said. "Now that the world has kind of opened up a little bit, more opportunities came, and this was one of the opportunities I had to take on.”
MORE FROM JEFFERSON
KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH FORMER TIGERS
"I’ve been talking to Ja’Marr, kind of trying to see how his whole training has been going, how his camp’s been going. Definitely showing support and love to him, I want him to do great things in the league also.”
ON BURROW'S INJURY
“It was definitely scary, for one, and I definitely felt bad for him, because he was having a great year. I think he was No. 1 in the rookie votes. He was definitely planning on winning rookie of the year. To see him go down, to see how much hurt that he had. It’s definitely sad to see, but I’m excited to see how he shakes back this year.”
HOW DO YOU FOLLOW A MONSTER ROOKIE SEASON?
“I guess just use that as determination to go out there and try to prove more. I felt like I was the rookie of the year, so to not actually win the award definitely is a little hurtful. But that just motivates me to go out there and work even harder. This year’s definitely going to be a lot crazier. Hopefully we have a better record and get to the playoffs.”
ABOUT THE COLD IN MINNESOTA...
“It wasn’t actually that bad. During the season it’s not that bad. We have an indoor [facility] and we have a domed stadium. So it’s not that bad. You’re not really outside that much in the cold. So it’s not that bad."