During Bears Training Camp, Jaylon Johnson mentioned how his mental state had changed this year, compared to last year, in part due to the death of his best friend, Kev'Vion Schrubb, who was shot and killed on Aug. 8.
“We probably met in like fifth grade, maybe fourth grade,” Johnson said. “We played sports against each other, with each other, ever since then that was kind of how we met through sports and then he would spend the night at my house, spend the night at his house, just going through and really growing up together. No matter what schools we were at, just always constantly being in contact. Then when we got to high school, we all went to the same high school and we all grew close from there.”
Schrubb’s death, coupled with the birth of Johnson’s daughter two years prior, taught Johnson not to take any moment for granted.
“You can be here one day and gone the next day,” Johnson said. “Honestly, it’s just as simple as that. It’s really just being able to really accept that life is going to be taken from you at some point. I mean, you honestly never know, and that’s just something I try to live by, just try not to have any regrets, and just try to live the best way that I can. Honestly. In whatever form or fashion that is, whether it’s taking care of my people, taking care of others or whatever, just really trying to have an impact and just leave a legacy on the earth while I’m here.”
Johnson believes Schrubb’s legacy was to help others. He said it was Schrubb’s nature to take care of those who needed it, whether it be friends, family, or complete strangers. When Schrubb started a clothing line in 2018 he made sure to donate some of the clothes he made to the homeless.
So Johnson decided the best way to honor his best friend was to start a non-profit in his name: Kevvy’s Vision Project.
“That was kind of my thing when it kind of first happened was to think about how I can allow his life, his legacy that he was beginning to start, to continue to live on. That’s big. I feel like when people pass, it’s easy to mourn for a month, it’s easy to mourn for two months and then all of a sudden people forget. People stop sending flowers, people stop texting the family and things like that. That’s something I didn’t want, especially for somebody I was close to.
“Just that theme that he had of trying to take care of those who needed it, I’m just trying to continue that on and just kind of keep moving forward in that direction.”
Johnson tweeted a mission statement for Kevvy’s Vision Project on Nov. 10, saying it strived “to empower and motivate underprivileged communities while giving them equal opportunities to succeed.”
Johnson also recognizes his unique platform as an NFL player, and says he feels blessed to have an opportunity to make a positive impact in the world.
“I feel like that’s why I’m in this position, at the end of the day. Of course, I worked hard and put in the time to be here, but I also feel like God gave me a gift and an opportunity really to be here. Not just to play sports for my own glory, but to be able to give back, to allow my platform to just influence others. At the end of the day, I feel like that’s kind of what the objective is. To not only get here. You don’t want to just get here and only eat for yourself, you want to help others eat as well, and help lead the way for others. And I feel like that’s the opportunity I have being in the NFL.”