When Jaydon Mickens first got to the Jacksonville Jaguars as a member of their practice squad three years ago, the former undrafted wide receiver found himself sleeping in his car in the parking lot at Everbank Field.
Three years later, he’s got a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In an interview with Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle on Monday, Mickens spoke about his experience sleeping in his car and having it now pay off with a Lombardi Trophy.
Mickens said that he couldn’t find anywhere to say on a practice squad salary that would give him the flexibility of a short-term lease should he have been released by the Jaguars. Mickens got to Jacksonville shortly after Hurricane Irma had ravaged the city in 2017 and the places Mickens was trying to stay wanted the security and cash flow security of longer leases as they had damaged properties to repair.
“If I sign this lease for $1,300 and I get cut tomorrow and I’m in Washington or I’m in Seattle or with any other team, I will not be able to hold that up with $5,000 to my name,” Mickens said.
Mickens said he hung out at teammate Marqise Lee‘s house until around midnight and then went to the gated lot at the stadium and would stay in his car from around 1 a.m. until 5:30 a.m. before going into the facility for work. Mickens said fellow receiver Larry Pinkard did the same thing.
Mickens would eventually get his chance on the active roster and he made his way as a kick and punt returner. Mickens handled the return duties for the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs. He had three returns for 75 yards in the victory.
“Man, it honestly doesn’t feel real. It’s very surreal,” Mickens said of winning the Super Bowl. “I haven’t won a championship since probably 2004, my Pop Warner days. This is something that I’m not used to but it’s something I knew we were able to accomplish through everything we’ve been through this season. But it doesn’t feel real.”