April 25, 2016
By Brad Muller | More Features
Jamon Meredith likes to keep things positive, and his actions back that up. After a solid career on the offensive line at South Carolina from 2005 through 2008, Meredith has spent the last seven seasons in the NFL. He credits his time at South Carolina for preparing him for the rigors of professional football.
“I was a blessed to be recruited by a legendary coach in Lou Holtz,” Meredith said. “He believed in me, so that spoke volumes in my opinion. Of course, I ended up playing for Steve Spurrier for four years. He is a demanding guy, so if you can play for him, you can play for anybody. With those two, that helped me a lot in the NFL to be able to adjust to different types of coaching personalities.”
Although he was only regarded as a two-star recruit by some recruiting services coming out of Hillcrest High School in Simpsonville, S.C., the Gamecock coaches saw something in him, and Meredith delivered on that faith. He earned honorable mention All-SEC honors from the Associated Press in 2006 and took home Academic All-SEC honors every year before graduating from South Carolina with a degree in sport and entertainment management. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 draft by the Green Bay Packers, he has seen time with nine different NFL teams over his career, most recently with the Tennessee Titans.
“I had a lot of fun in Tampa,” Meredith said. “It’s a beautiful city, and I started 20 games there. I had a lot of fun this past year in Tennessee too even though we had a rough time. I still enjoyed it. I have fun wherever I go. I’m always going to do my best and make the best out of any situation.”
While he has jumped around to several NFL cities, he feels fortunate to have had a lengthy pro career. Like any professional player, there were some awkward moments early on.
“I was on the scout team in Green Bay my rookie year,” Meredith recalled. “I blocked Charles Woodson and knocked him down, so I thought I had done something good, but I got fussed at. Apparently in the NFL, if you’re on the scout team, you’re not supposed to knock down the good players on defense. That was my first welcome to the NFL moment. My second moment was going against Julius Peppers in my second start of my rookie year. He pretty much punished me on my first drop back pass. I settled in and have stuck around. I have had some success and failures, but overall I’ve been truly blessed.”
I feel like helping other people is what you’re supposed to do. It’s all a cycle, so whatever God has planned for me, so be it.
Meredith noted that early on in his pro career, he still reached out to his college coaches for advice, as it wasn’t always easy to find a mentor when he started out in the NFL.
“When I was first coming into the NFL, a lot of players didn’t really want to help the younger guys,” Meredith said. “I guess they looked at it as I was someone who was trying to take their job. Now, being a veteran player, I love to help the younger players. Anytime I get a chance to spread some knowledge to younger guys who might benefit from it, I’m not going to hold that back. I feel like helping other people is what you’re supposed to do. It’s all a cycle, so whatever God has planned for me, so be it.”
Recently declared a free agent, Meredith took a break from preparing for an eighth NFL season by attending South Carolina’s NFL Pro Day at Williams-Brice Stadium where he was glad to pass on some knowledge to the Gamecocks who were trying to impress the scouts prior to this year’s draft.
“Anytime I get a chance to come back to my alma mater, it’s always good,” Meredith said. “I spoke to a few of the guys before they worked out and tried to help them out. It reminded me of my pro day. I was also able to come back to a recent coaching clinic here and listen to Coach Holtz talk. So that’s always good.”
Meredith is currently enjoying spending time at home with his family in Fountain Inn, S.C., as he trains for the upcoming season. Coming back to campus brings back a lot of good memories of his days in the Garnet and Black.
“My best memories go back to my red shirt freshman year in 2005 when we beat Tennessee up there, and we beat Florida here,” Meredith recalled. “That was really big at that time. I’ll never forget that game against Tennessee when Kenny McKinley caught that big pass on third and seven. I try to stay in touch with a lot of the guys. We like to laugh about the old days.”
As he gets to know the new South Carolina football coaching staff under head coach Will Muschamp, Meredith likes what he has seen so far, on and off the field.
“With the new staff, it’s just a beautiful thing to continue to be a part of the program,” Meredith said. “I feel welcomed to come back. The staff has done a good job of reaching out to me and other guys.
“I’m really impressed by the new staff. If I retired today, I’d be sending my resume here to try to help them. They’re very motivated. They’re enthusiastic, and you can tell that they all want to win. They are very passionate about what they are doing. Just watching one of their practices, I was impressed. They’re so positive. It’s definitely going in the right direction.”
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