When you think phenomenal NFL linebackers both past and present, 2x Super Bowl Champion Jonathan Casillas comes top of mind. Born in Jersey City and a product of New Brunswick, Casillas, commonly referred to as Jade after his five year old daughter, is an NFL veteran entering into his ninth professional season. Standing at 6’1, 227 pounds, the clean cut leader was humbly voted as captain of the New York Giants by his team of peers in 2016.
Casillas, born on June 3, 1987, is son to Luz Casillas and basketball playground legend Flash Gordon. His father was known for eye capturing dribbling abilities and played among the likes of iconic figures including Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Being of African American and Puerto Rican roots, the Super Bowl champion is particularly big on family first and credits his upbringing for his current success on and off the field. Coming from a tight knit family including nine siblings, Casillas’ mother was the glue that kept everything together working several jobs to make ends meet.
While most kids his age with dreams of becoming a professional athlete spent their youth playing Pop Warner football, Jonathan turned out to be a late bloomer who never set foot onto the field until high school. With natural athletic abilities he would soon find himself with the opportunity to continue his education at the collegiate level when offered a football scholarship to the University of Wisconsin. It is here that the New York Giant would fully emerge dominating on the defensive end becoming a breakout star for the Badgers.
Taking an unfortunate blow and not being selected in the 2009 NFL draft due to having sat out most of the NFL Combine with knee surgery, Jade was signed as a free agent by the New Orleans Saints shortly after. Playing in 11 games, the rookie made an immediate impact and was officially credited with recovering a third quarter onside kick for the Saints winning his first Super Bowl ring over the Indianapolis Colts. Over the next eight years Casillas would enjoy time spent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as New England Patriots where he would collect his second Super Bowl ring in 2015 over the Seattle Seahawks. 2015 would also be the year were Casillas made the transition to his current position with the New York Giants where he is the team captain alongside Eli Manning and Zak DeOssie.
More than an athlete, Casillas is a philanthropist with a passion to inspire. In Spring 2013 he participated in “Cut for a Cure” to raise awareness for Pediatric Cancer. Casillas also gives back to his community and hometown in New Brunswick through his “Forward Progress Football and Life Skills Camp” which is the second largest camp by any professional football player. Each year the event caters to over 200 youth ages six to twelfth grade equipping them with athletic and life skills including healthy living, positive vs negative uses of social media, NCAA and college processes and more.
Inspired by his amazing daughter Jade Casillas, Jonathan is the definition of a well rounded individual. With his passion to live life the way you want to, fans of all walks of life can expect to see more great things from him in the near future.