Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson spoke to Phillip B. Wilson this week about the origin of his unusual first name and growing up on a Florida beach.
Phil B: I do these question-and-answer chats about off-the-field stuff. Anything. Let’s start with your name, D’Qwell.
D’Qwell: It’s unique. A long time ago, I asked my mom, ‘Where did you come up with this name?’ Her and one of her best friends came up with my name. I don’t how it was derived. I don’t know what they were thinking. They landed on a ‘D,’ an apostrophe and ‘Qwell.’ I grew up around Florida, so I would go to Busch Gardens (in Tampa). I remember this like it was yesterday. It sticks out because I could never find a nameplate. You go to Busch Gardens and all my friends were finding nameplates. After a while, I just stopped looking for it. It’s just one of those unique names. I have no idea. It was a name that was made up and I don’t know where it comes from at all. No idea.
Phil B: As you got older, you appreciated the uniqueness of it?
D’Qwell: Oh yeah. I mean I’ve got a ton of nicknames. ‘DQ,’ ‘D-Jack,’ people back home call me ‘Quincy’ and ‘Q.’ I’ve got a ton of nicknames. (Laughs.)
Phil B: So you grew up in Busch Gardens area. What was that like?
D’Qwell: Loved it, man. Grew up near a beach. That was a weekend for me. Buddies and I would go to the beach and we’d be at the beach all day. In high school, I used to be a cabana boy. That’s where I made extra money, setting up cabanas for guests. A lot of us at my high school we did that, we would just stay out there all day long, make money, hang out on the beach, I had a couple of buddies who lived near the beach, take the boat out. I’m a huge watersports fan. I loved it.
Phil B: Sounds like fun.
D’Qwell: Oh yeah, and it was hot. It was hot. But I enjoyed it, man, I really did.
Phil B: You liked to check out the scenery?
D’Qwell: That, too. That, too. It was a fun place to be for a young high schooler. You get to meet people, make a little money, nice eye candy and just enjoy being young.
Phil B: And beach people are different.
D’Qwell: More laid-back. It was all guests, all tourists, so people were always in a good mood. You never ran into anyone that you knew because I worked at a place where all the visitors would come. The people that were from there, they would go to the more private beach, where you didn’t get a lot of traffic. It was good. I had a good time.
Phil B: Then, of course, you ended up playing in the NFL in Cleveland and Indianapolis, two of the coldest places.
D’Qwell: I thought Maryland was the coldest place when I went there for college. And then I went to Cleveland. Yeah, around this time, I believe my rookie year or my first couple of years, it was when I used to have my uncles and my brothers come up for the NFL Draft. We’d get on the grill and just kind of enjoy a men’s weekend. One year in Cleveland, and the draft was always the last week of April, so the day before we prepped all the meat, we got the coals ready, we were getting ready to cook outside on the grill and watch the draft. We wake up in late April and there’s like five or six inches of snow on the ground. And after that, I was like, ‘You know what, this is not normal.’ It changed all our plans after that. Every year on, it changed our plans. It was like, ’You know what, this is something special right here.’ I dealt with it for eight years. Being here, it’s not different. I’m used to it now.
Phil B: And you just got your first snowfall in Indy. Last year, it was real bad. They probably told you that. This isn’t anything. This is tame.
D’Qwell: I heard it was real bad. For it to snow like this in January, that’s pretty good.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.