Saskatchewan Roughrider Willie Jefferson may be in Regina getting ready for Sunday’s game against the rival Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but his mind travels to Texas when he steps off the field.
The Riders defensive end was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas and moved to Houston when he began playing football.
Both cities have been hit with flash flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. People have lost their lives and billions of dollars worth of damage has been done, but Jefferson said his family and friends living there are out harm’s way.
Still, seeing images of the devastation in his hometown is painful.
“It hurts me to my heart man, me not being there, me not being able to comfort my mom, comfort my girl, comfort my nieces and my nephews. It puts me at a real standstill,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson said knowing that his loved ones are safe puts his mind at ease. He said the game of football has offered a reprieve during this difficult time.
“Just like anybody when hard times fall upon you or family members, you gotta have something to lean on,” he said.
“I lean on my teammates and on the game of football.”
Since the storm hit, Jefferson has taken to social media to send encouraging words and ask people to donate money to relief funds.