Cameras captured an emotional moment between Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson and his father Shawn after a game in which they were on opposite sidelines.
Shawn Jefferson is the Arizona Cardinals associate head coach and wide receiver coach. Arizona had just beaten Los Angeles, 27-17, to hand the Rams their third consecutive loss.
“HBO’s Hard Knocks In Season: The Arizona Cardinals” cameras were rolling when Shawn met his son near midfield and encouraged him to “stay in the fight.”
Jefferson did have three catches for 27 yards and scored a touchdown in the game but seemed to be disappointed about the loss.
Jefferson presented his father with a game ball and the duo embraced. The 26-year-old struggled to hold back tears as his dad urged him to keeping fighting.
“Stay in the fight, right?” Shawn said. “Let’s go! Stay in the fight; that’s what it’s about. You gotta grind it out, right? Keep grinding. You’re good; you’ll be alright. Nobody said this wouldn’t be hard, man. I’m telling you, it’s gonna be hard. You gotta keep battling.”
Shawn played 13 seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver before he transitioned into coaching. He racked up 470 receptions, 7,023 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns during his NFL playing days.
The Cardinals and Rams have both had challenging seasons. Both of the NFC West rivals made the playoffs last year, but in 2022 each team has already lost six games.
Jefferson’s wide receivers coach, Eric Yarber, also gave a brief show of support before Shawn’s words of wisdom continued.
“And then, here’s the deal,” he said. “When you keep battling, after you come out of this test, you’re rewarded with another test. So keep going. Keep going, right? I love you, man,” the father told his son.
The pair shared a handshake and a hug, and Van told his father, “I love you” before they parted ways.
An August knee procedure kept Jefferson out of much of training camp and he was ruled out of the team’s first six regular-season games.
He has gotten off to a slow start since he returned. In Week 9 he was targeted five times but did not record a reception.