When the Seahawks host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Carlos Dunlap II will have the unique distinction among his teammates of perhaps not being the most accomplished member of his own family to take the field that day.
Yes, Dunlap is an 11-year veteran and a two-time Pro-Bowler who has recorded 88 career sacks, but during the third quarter of Sunday's game, Dr. Diana Ross-Jackson, Carlos' mother, will be honored as part of the Seahawks' Salute to Service game, and, well, her resume is tough to top, even for a Pro-Bowl pass rusher.
In addition to helping raise two children, including a Pro-Bowl pass-rusher who for his work in the community has twice been nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, and who is also a successful restauranteur, Dr. Ross-Jackson also served in the U.S. Army Reserve for 11 years as a dental specialist. She also qualified at the rate of Sharpshooter, then after receiving an Honorable Discharge, Dr. Ross-Jackson went on to a 30-year career as an educator, first as a teacher then later as a principal.
So yes, Dunlap's multiple Pro Bowls and 88 sacks are awfully impressive, but it's tough to top a woman who can clean your teeth, educate your children, and hit a target from long range. And it isn't just Dr. Ross-Jackson's service that Dunlap will be honoring on Sunday; his father, Carlos Dunlap Sr. served in both the Air Force and the Navy.
Dunlap said growing up in a military family, "Taught me the values of discipline, having a routine, and delivering on what you say you are going to do." And throughout his career he has honored his parents' service that helped shape him as a man, even if, early in his career, it constituted a uniform violation.
"I appreciate it a lot and love that the league took on this and allowed us to admire to honor 'Salute to Service' on the main stage," Dunlap said. "When I first got to the NFL, I would wear camo cleats and I got fined 10 grand. Now, here they are, and they create the camo cleats. I wore the camo cleats for 'Salute to Service' and I got fined 10 grand, but then the next year Under Armour and Nike started making camo cleats and gear.
"The NFL embraced supporting 'Salute to Service' and started to highlight it. It's amazing to see how things have turned for the better, because we wouldn't be able to play this game had the men and women who came before us not sacrificed what they did. I'm grateful to say that my family didn't have to sacrifice as much as they did, but they were able to use our forces to provide a better opportunity for me and my family and to get a free education."
Seahawks linebacker Carlos Dunlap II threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Seattle Mariners taking on the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on September 27, 2021.