Jalen Nailor was born to play football, according to his older brother. The second-year Minnesota Vikings wide receiver’s nickname is “Speedy,” says Raymond Nailor.
“He knew he was going to the NFL,” said Jalen’s brother as we rode down together on the media elevator after the last Vikings home game. Raymond was there to watch his brother, a sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan State in 2022 and was en route to the team’s family room when our chance encounter occurred.
The 6-foot Jalen caught his first NFL pass in a game last October, and on New Year’s Day 2023, he caught his first pro receiving touchdown.
“I’ve been watching him play since he was born, “admitted a proud big brother, who is 11 years older than Jalen. As a youngster, Jalen was able to see his brother, a former college athlete, play as well as “be around some great athletes,” recalled Raymond.
Jalen attended and played at Michigan State. He caught 12 TD catches and finished with 1,844 career all-purpose yards.
“My little brother has persistence,” continued Raymond, adding how much his brother has grown up to be a proud Black man. “He’s constant and persistent. I think that it takes that in White America.”
Raymond added that over the years he shared tons of Black history nuggets with his brother. “I also think that it’s important that we know our value. We don’t doubt who we are. My brother knows these things.”
Raymond said Jalen hopes to extend his pro presence and influence in the offseason, by working with youth in the community.
“These are some of the things that we’re looking forward to doing in the spring,” concluded Jalen’s biggest fan, his big brother Raymond.
I AM GIFTED expands
It’s been more than a couple weeks since Vikings RB Alexander Mattison had to endure racist attacks on social media.
“I’m trying to spread love and positivity…in the world,” he told the MSR.
We haven’t talked with Mattison since his I AM GIFTED youth football camp this past June at Hamline University. He expanded it this year to include an overnight stay on the St. Paul campus for high-school-age participants.
“A lot of kids want to come back next year,” reported Mattison on the camp’s success. “It’s pretty awesome…and I want to make it bigger and better every year.”