Kareem Jackson Talks the NFL and His Impressive Tattoo Collection

The Texans are on a tear. What do you account for this winning streak? Everybody is holding one another accountable, and they’re all in. All 11 guys on the field are doing their job and making sure that we don’t let each other down. Everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do. We all have the same goals in common — play well and win games. You know, that’s the main thing for us.

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Fans love to say that that game was lost because of one play. Do you believe many games are really lost because of one play? No, I don’t think it’s because of one play. I think it’s a combination of things. Maybe an earlier play in the game, or things kind of adding up. I mean, it’s always a combination of different situations, but it’s definitely not one play or one player. It’s a combination of things, and all those things can definitely get you beat.

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Is it harder to prepare for a game mentally or physically?

I would say mentally. Sure, the physical aspect is taxing. We all know how hard that can be. But mentally, just preparing for different teams and their different schemes, different receivers, different offensives, offensive threats and quarterbacks. That is rough.

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Photo by Cassie Zhang

You lead the franchise in interceptions. Any secrets besides your speed? No secrets. I’ve been fortunate enough to with the franchise for nine years. And I’ve been put in some great situations that helped me achieve these goals. Whether it was the coaches’ play calling, their technique or, things you learn from watching film. That, plus working my ass off to be in the situations and the positions so that I am able to capitalize on it.

Photos by Cassie Zhang

Photos by Cassie Zhang

Have you ever gone up against someone, “And we’re like, “Damn, this guy’s really fast!” Yeah. Some guys in the league are really fast, man. I’ve definitely gone up against some guys and said to myself, “Man, this guy can run.” With that, you just got to try to put yourself into some good situations. It becomes a mental thing and you got to try and do different things. Try to throw them off. Maybe put yourself in a great situation to make a play.

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Photo by Cassie Zhang

When did you first start getting tattooed? I started getting tattoos when I was in the 10th grade and I remember it like it was yesterday because it was a big deal in my house. My mom wouldn’t let me get my ears pierced, but she let me get my first tattoos. I got a portrait of Jesus with a small cross behind it, which I still have today.

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Please gives us the tattoo tour. Like I said, I started getting them in the 10th grade and after that first one and I just got addicted. Every chance I got I would get another, and it just became addicting. And now I do a little tattoo party every offseason. I’ll fly a guy in for three or four days and you just go crazy with tattoo work done.

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Any cover-ups? I actually had some aliens on my hands. I grew out of them. I just don’t know what steered me into getting them in the first place. I’m sure every true collector of tattoos have a few they probably wish they hadn’t gotten. So, I ended up getting them covered up with some roses done by Mr. Cartoon.

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Why do you think so many athletes get such poor tattoo work? I think some guys get comfortable with an artist at a young age and out of loyalty stick with them…even if they’re not that good. But, for me it was like, once I started getting them, I wanted to go to somebody that’s credible. My guy is in Atlanta. Randy. Tattoos by Randy. He’s done pretty much all my work, except for a couple of pieces. I went to Cartoon for my hands and Nico did all the portraits on my legs, but all my other work, Randy did. The back piece, my arm sleeves, my chest, my ribs. Randy did all my stuff.

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Your most meaningful tattoo(s)? It would be my daughter’s footprints, just because she’s my firstborn. It was my introduction into fatherhood. Just having her footsteps on my ribs, it just means the world.

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Do you have any NFL-related ink? I have a little bit, not much. On my leg, I have my journey through football, from little league to college to the NFL. The side of my leg is dedicated to the sport that I love.

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Photo by Cassie Zhang

Your next tattoo? My next would probably be another portrait and finish sleeving my leg. It will probably be portraits done by Nico and I’m thinking Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson. I go down to see him for two or three days and try and do three pieces in the trip. I know it’s rough on the body, but I do it.

Another important tattoo I have is the cancer ribbon. The reason for that is an incident with mom and my sister. My mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor and my sister’s a leukemia survivor, so I do a lot of foundation work with women with breast cancer and kids with cancer. I’m in the communities back in Houston. Those causes are near and dear to my heart.

For me, it’s all about being able to help other families going through that same struggle that me and my family went through. Cancer is a terrible thing and I’ve seen firsthand what it can do to family. For it’s all about these families that are going through cancer giving them some type of stability, and let them know that we’re in their corner and encourage them to continue to fight.