The Bears were off last week, but cornerback Jaylon Johnson was far from idle.
Last Wednesday the second-year pro announced that he was launching a non-profit organization in honor of his best friend, Kev'Vion Schrubb, a 22-year-old who was shot and killed Aug. 8 near Fresno State University.
Johnson tweeted that Kevvy's Vision Project will strive to "empower and motivate underprivileged communities while giving them equal opportunities to succeed."
The organization plans to help 100 families at a Dec. 18 event in Fresno by providing hot meals, groceries and Christmas gifts.
In starting Kevvy's Vision Project, Johnson wanted to continue the charitable efforts his best friend was passionate about. Schrubb created his own "No Love" clothing line in 2018 and donated apparel to homeless people as well as to patients at a local children's hospital.
"That was kind of my thing when it 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," Johnson said. "The homeless people he'd see on the side of the road, he was always quick to give change, always quick to try to give clothes or something back. 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 is determined to help Schrubb's legacy live on indefinitely.
"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," Johnson said. "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."
Johnson recalled that he met Schrubb in fourth or fifth grade.
"We played sports against each other, with each other, ever since then," said the Bears cornerback. "That was kind of how we met through sports, and then he would spend the night at my house, I'd 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."
Losing his best friend has given the 22-year-old Johnson a new perspective on life.
"That you can be here one day and gone the next day; honestly, it's just as simple as that," Johnson said. "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, honestly, and just try to live the best way that I can. 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 feels "very blessed" that he's been given a platform to help others.
"I feel like that's why I'm in this position," he said. "I mean, 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.
"I feel like that's kind of what the objective is. 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."