WATCH: Late Jerry Brown's legacy lives on with daughter

On December 8, 2012, Stacey Jackson lost her first-born son when a car driven by Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent crashed, immediately killing Jackson's son and Brent's teammate, Jerry Brown. 

Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter and faces a January trial for the charge.

No one would blame Jackson if she was bitter and wanted to see Brent punished to the fullest extent of the law, but she's not and she doesn't. That's because this isn't just a story of tragedy, it's a story of forgiveness and a story of hope. 

Jackson has forgiven Brent because she knows what Brent meant to her son. She knows what kind of friend Brent was to Jerry Brown before the accident. Brown and Brent had been best friends since 2007 when they met while playing football at the University of Illinois. 

"Several colleges came calling on Jerry, but Illinois was his destiny. Josh Brent and Jerry played defense together and became friends almost immediately," Jackson said. "They were like brothers, talking about what they wanted to accomplish and talking about where their life is going to be at, they just hit it off."

The strong bond that existed between Brent and Brown before the accident is why Jackson invited Brent to her son's memorial service, "I knew Josh was hurting just as much as I was because Jerry was his brother," Jackson said. "If being mad at Josh would bring Jerry back, then I'll be mad at Josh, because I want my son, but then what do you give to the rest of your family if you're bitter. So, I had no problem with him coming to be at the memorial service with us, I had to forgive him."

Jerry Brown's story didn't end with his death though, shortly after he died, his daughter was born. "A month after Jerry's passing, he became a father. For me, helping to raise my granddaughter is a blessing," Jackson said.

For Stacey Jackson, Thanksgiving will be different this year, but she's determined to make the most of it. "This is not the Thanksgiving I had planned a year ago," Jackson said. "But my life is proof that everything can change overnight, what we do with those we embrace can keep the worst of times pointing positive."

The segment originally aired on Thanksgiving Day on The NFL Today on CBS.

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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