NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and his business partner James Moore paid for the burial expenses of Jaylon McKenzie this past weekend, a source close to Jackson’s family said.
McKenzie was a promising eighth-grade football player at Mason-Clark Middle School in East Saint Louis, Illinois. He was killed by a stray bullet while leaving a party on May 5.
McKenzie was also featured in Sports Illustrated and said Jackson, a fellow Belleville native, was someone whose path he wanted to follow to the NFL.
Despite his young age, McKenzie was already receiving college scholarship offers, one of which was from the University of Illinois. He was selected to compete in the All-American All-Star Game in Canton, Ohio, during the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend last August.
McKenzie’s mother, Sukeena Gunner, said her son was trying to leave a party in Venice, Illinois, when a fight broke out. According to Illinois State Police, McKenzie was struck by a stray bullet and died at a local hospital. A 15-year-old girl was also hit and remains in critical condition.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott grew up in St. Louis. Elliott and Jackson made arrangements to cover the expenses for the family. Elliott paid for the funeral services, while Jackson and Moore paid for the burial, the source said.
NFL Network first reported on Jackson’s gesture.