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Bears’ Rookie Jaquan Brisker Finds Motivation Through Adversity

The Bears’ second-round pick has derived motivation from a tragic loss.

Jaquan Brisker Chicago Bears Rookies
Photo: Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears acquired the 48th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft in a trade that sent Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers. With that pick, the Bears selected safety Jaquan Brisker out of Penn State. Brisker has come a long way to reach the NFL, as highlighted in a recent episode of “Meet The Rookies,” a Bears’ YouTube series.

Brisker’s love for football began at a young age and stemmed from his brother Tale. According to Brisker’s mother, Mijohni, he always had something in his hand and would play with it like a football — socks, water bottles, anything.

As he got older, Brisker became a Madden junkie. His friend Brian Jones said that Jaquan knew the depth chart at every position for every team, highlighting his passion for any knowledge related to the game of football. Brisker couldn’t wait for his first opportunity to play for his high school, Gateway.

“Upon entry to high school he was really lanky and like a string but he came into his sophomore, junior year, he got very comfortable,” Gateway coach Maurice Walker said of Brisker.

“He is scrappy, he works hard… he is an athlete,” Brian Jones recalled.

Tragedy Changes Brisker

Tale Lamar Brisker, Jaquan’s older brother, was shot and killed during the middle of Jaquan Brisker’s high school career. After some grieving, Brisker got closer with his other high school coach, Vaughn Rivers, who had the same thing happen to his older brother when he was young.

They helped each other through their similar situations. As a result, Brisker was able to open up and use the loss of his brother as motivation to be better at football like him. “That kept him on a straight, because he was like ‘I have to do this for my older brother,'” said coach Walker.

After high school, Brisker was supposed to go to Toledo but decided to play one year of junior college ball to bet on himself. That bet paid off and Brisker elected to go to Penn State. Nittany Lions’ coach Anthony Poindexter said he loves Brisker because “he [Brisker] was worried about winning for Penn State.” He embodied that his entire career.

His biggest collegiate moment happened in a 2021 matchup with Wisconsin. Brisker had a key interception in a fourth-and-goal situation with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter to help close out the game.

Draft day came and Brisker went to the Bears in the second round.

“After everything we went through…this was the most exciting thing since my son’s passing,” said Mrs. Brisker. “I hope ends up being the best damn safety in the nation.”

Brisker will have a prime opportunity to do just that. With the Chicago Bears’ defense going through a full makeover, he will have every chance to blossom in the secondary.

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