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From the backfield to the front office

Former Texas Tech student-athlete has served as NFL executive for nearly two decades

Jason Jenkins (second from top right) with his Texas Tech teammates. (Courtesy of Jason Jenkins)

Jason Jenkins knew that fewer than 2% of college athletes move on to play professional sports. However, that didn’t stop the former Texas Tech defensive back from making an impact in the NFL.

“I firmly believe that without going to Texas Tech and majoring in journalism, I would not be in this position today,” said Jenkins, now senior vice president of communications and community affairs for the Miami Dolphins. “(Being a student-athlete) taught me everything.”

A native of Missouri City, Texas, in the Houston area, Jenkins had a childhood steeped in sports and education. His father, a professional football player, and mother, an educator, instilled in him a passion for surmounting challenges and embracing hard work early in his life.

That relentless work ethic carried Jenkins to Texas Tech and grounded him through his four years in Lubbock — a time he says helped him get out of his comfort zone. By learning to work with players, coaches and trainers from all walks of life, Jenkins developed a cross-cultural communications skill set that has served him to this day.

Jenkins has nearly two decades of experience as an NFL executive. (Courtesy of Jason Jenkins)

“The ability to communicate, navigate and work with diverse groups of people in complex situations, and work progressively toward goals that may change at a moment’s notice, has helped me to this day,” Jenkins said.

Another major takeaway from his time at Texas Tech was learning the importance of teamwork.

“It’s not about individualism but about doing your part and paying witness to how your part fits into the bigger picture beyond yourself,” Jenkins said.

As Jenkins’ playing days dwindled, he knew he had to find an outlet for his competitive nature. Through a connection formed in Texas Tech’s Black Student Association, Jenkins started a position in the university’s athletics administration with the goal of eventually becoming an athletics director.

“Knowing that my playing days were over, I wanted to continue being a productive member of my community and work in athletics,” he said.

Jenkins eventually landed positions at Lehigh and Texas Southern before starting his front-office NFL career in 2002 with the San Francisco 49ers. For six years, he led the team’s public relations efforts, including creating the first comprehensive public relations manual for the organization.

Jenkins joined the Dolphins in 2009 and was named to his current position in 2015. With Jenkins on board, the Dolphins most recently won the NFL’s Huddle for 100 competition. The campaign called for residents to give back 100 minutes of their time to their communities through their local NFL team.

Through the Dolphins Huddle for 100 campaign, which sought to inspire a healthier, more educated and united South Florida community through the power of teamwork, the Dolphins led the NFL with more than 75.6 million volunteer minutes through 89,210 volunteers and 163 events.

“Whether it’s through teams, business, leadership or community, I have seen how athletics promotes positive qualities that carry into the real world and help people to become successful,” Jenkins said. “I truly believe sports are a uniting force.”

Jenkins served as Texas Tech’s 2018 commencement speaker. (Courtesy of Jason Jenkins/Texas Tech University)