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Jeffcoat Seeing New Side Of Cowboys Rivalry

Posted Dec 26, 2014

Redskins rookie outside linebacker Jackson Jeffcoat's father, Jim, played his first 12 seasons in the NFL for the Cowboys as a defensive end from 1983 to 1994.

The Redskins-Cowboys rivalry has some one-sided history in the Jeffcoat family, but on Sunday, the Dallas-dominated household will begin to be challenged.

After playing at linebacker and recording his first professional sack for the Redskins last Saturday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Jackson Jeffcoat will finish the season on Sunday playing against the Cowboys, his father Jim Jeffcoat's former team.

"I grew up on the other side, so I know how big [this game] is for them," Jackson said. "Being over here, I know how big it is for us as well. It's definitely a big game and it's very exciting. I'm excited to be able to play with the Redskins and this rivalry."

It's been equally exciting for Jim to see his son compete in the NFL and watch a second generation of family compete in the NFC East.

"He's getting the opportunity and he's working to take advantage of it," Jim told Redskins.com this week. "I thought if he got the opportunity that he would be successful."

Jim, now a defensive line coach for the University of Colorado, played his first 12 seasons for the Cowboys as a defensive end (1983-94) and won two consecutive Super Bowls before ending his career with the Bills. He also spent seven seasons as a coach in Dallas until 2005.

"Having the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl is huge," said Jim, who took Jackson there while he was a toddler. "And obviously the competition in the NFC East between the teams [is huge], because every team except Philly at that time had been to Super Bowls."

Jim entered the league when the Cowboys and Redskins were perennial contenders. Playing under head coach Tom Landry, the rivalry was as intense as Landry himself.

"He’s probably the most brilliant coach I’ve ever had the chance to be associated with," Jim said. "It was his defense, it was his offense, it was his special teams. On Monday mornings we’d sit and he’d critique every single position, which was unusual on defense and offense."

As Jackson grew older, Jim would talk about his memories with the Cowboys with him and his older brother.

"Growing up with my dad playing for Dallas, they hate everybody in the NFC East," Jackson recalled. "Everybody that they play in the NFC East, they hate them, they want to beat them. I feel like that's about the same thing here. Everybody we play in the NFC East is a big rival and we want to beat them, especially between the Redskins and the Cowboys."

His playing days now far behind him, Jim now downplays the perceived hatred players felt about other NFC East opponents. On Sunday, he'll be happy to root for his son, even against his former team.

"I think that if your child is on any team, you’re going to root for him, there’s no doubt about it," Jim said. "There’s not animosity. That’s just what I did for a living. It’s just business. It wasn’t like a deep-seated hatred for the Redskins, it’s just what I did for the job."

Jim said his former teammates in Dallas "had tremendous respect for the Hogs," the famous and talented Redskins offensive line of the 1980s and 1990s.

That’s just what we did," he said. "If you saw them on the street you didn’t want to fight [them]. Some of those guys you played in high school or college with."

Now that Jackson, who turned 23 Friday, will get his first taste of the rivalry, he's hoping he can head into the offseason victorious and with some new memories.

"That’d be very special," Jackson said. "A special way to end it and it’d be exciting, especially because I’m playing in the NFC East just like my father."

RELATED LINKS:
-- BLOG: Teammates, Family React To Jackson Jeffcoat's Sack Dance
-- Jackson Jeffcoat Senses Urgency With Roster Promotion

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