There's a lot of things that will be different for NFL players on game day during the 2020 regular-season due to COVID-19 and the global pandemic. Fans will not be in attendance through the month of September at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, meaning no NFL players will have their families in attendance.
For Pro Bowl defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, that's significant. Jarrett's mom, Elisha, has not missed a game since his Pop Warner football days. Elisha has been in attendance at every Clemson game, home or away. She hasn't missed one of his NFL games – including his preseason games. With playoff games included, Elisha estimates that to be about 140 games to date.
After the national anthem is played, Jarrett finds Elisha in the stands and comes over to give her a hug, fist bump and a brief conversation in which she gives her son a pep talk with a few key words he should focus on.
Elisha wanted to make sure that although she won't be in attendance at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Grady knew he had her full support. Before the game, Elisha and members of the Jarrett family gathered outside of where Grady parks his car to surprise him with posters before walking into the Falcons' home locker room.
"While it breaks my heart not entering the stadium today, more than I imagined it would, I told him, 'When obstacles are in our way, what do we do?' We adjust, adapt and we go to work," Elisha Jarrett said.
Elisha's key words for Jarrett heading into the matchup with the Seattle Seahawks: First step, power and explosiveness.
"Intuition and do you equals a great game," Elisha said in a pre-game text message to her son.