Football's in the family for the Westermans
By Frank Zicarelli, QMI Agency
|Jabar Westerman, 22, is the youngest playing member of an athletically gifted family. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - The football man in the Westerman clan is open to interpretation.
“There’s certainly a lot of competition,’’ began Jabar Westerman, 22, the youngest playing member of this athletically gifted and close knit family.
“Whenever that question comes up, as in who’s the best, everyone always says themselves.”
Ask Jabar Westerman the question and he’s quick with the following retort: “I am.’’
Jabar, who attended Eastern Michigan, and Jawann Westerman, who attended Rutgers, were among the prospects the CFL invited to take part in this weekend’s evaluation camp.
The trailblazers in this family are Westerman’s parents, father Peter and mother Angela, two accomplished athletes in their own rights who obviously passed along a gift the siblings have taken and ran with them during their sporting paths.
Jamaal Westerman, 27, is the oldest of the three football-playing brothers, a linebacker for the NFL’s New York Jets who plays primarily on special teams, but will get reps in certain packages at either linebacker or at defensive end.
Jamaal attended Rutgers, a program he convinced Jawann, 25, to pursue when NCAA suitors came calling.
Jawann is the only brother who lines up on offence, where CFL teams are taking a serious look at him at receiver.
“It’s all in the genes,’’ added Jabar, referring to parents who played everything from soccer, field hockey, net ball to running track.
But it’s football where Jabar and Jawann hope to make a living.
It remains to be seen whether either will follow older brother Jamaal to the big-money NFL, but Jamaal’s presence with the Jets provides plenty of motivation and inspiration.
“It goes without saying that it means a lot knowing that someone from my family made it to the NFL,’’ Jabar said.
The Westerman story begins in the Caribbean island of Barbados, where Peter could have carved his own pro niche had he received the necessary encouragement.
The story then picks up in Brooklyn, N.Y., where Jamaal and Jawann were both born.
It moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as the family escaped Brooklyn’s tough streets, and then Brampton, Ont., where Angela Westerman continues to call home.
During the interview process with CFL clubs, Jabar admits his road was a topic many found curious.
“I was also a late addition to the combine,’’ he added. “They wanted to know about me, how I got to Eastern Michigan (a path that began with a stop at Dodge City Community College in Kansas), my move to Canada after living in Florida until 1999.”
As convoluted as it way sound, including parents who are separated, the bond that ties the three brothers are love of football and love of family.