This week on A Cowboy Life, Brady sits down with former Cowboys receiver Jesse Holley for the first part of a two-part episode to talk about his upbringing in New Jersey, his struggles to connect with his disparate family, and how a little love from a grandmother, an endearing coach, and a field trip to UCLA encouraged him to break into the world of professional football and sign on to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jesse’s story began in Roselle, New Jersey, in 1991. Growing up with an absent father and a vagrant mother, Jesse lacked a lot of the resources most kids would have- structure, discipline, and a guardian that could provide for him. But after summer at his aunt’s house and a runaway attempt with his brother Joseph, Jesse discovered that he wasn’t as alone as he’d thought.

Upon moving in with his grandmother Yvonne, Jesse discovered his love for sports when local coach Eugene “Brownie” Brown encouraged him to try basketball. He thought basketball may lead to his future, until a fateful field trip to UCLA turned him onto football. He broke onto the gridiron in a big way, and before he knew it, he started getting calls from college scouts. So he graduated, packed his bags, and headed to North Carolina on a scholarship.

Things go well for Jesse for the first few years of college, but a stumble in his senior year sets him back. Fortunately, he persevered and managed to sign with the Cincinnati Bengals, at least for a while. Unfortunately, good things don’t last forever, and after a stint in Canada playing for the B.C. Lions, Jesse found himself right back where he started- broke, lost, and nowhere to go.

Nowhere, that is, until he got a call about a certain reality television show called “4th and Long.”

Show Notes & Links:

  1. Want to know more about Jesse Holley? Check out his Wikipedia Page.
  2. Hold on, you barely talked about his college career! Here’s his Tar Heel stats.
  3. What’s this “Canadian Football” all about? Here’s a link, but remember- it’s no NFL!
  4. Whatever happened to Jesse’s brothers? Check out what Jamel’s been up to!
  5. I want to know more about Roselle! Here’s everything you’ll ever need to know about it.