DAVIE — @Lastname_Baker (Jerome Baker Jr.): “Please don’t fight my battles I need these scars.” 18 May 2016
Jerome Baker is a speaking about the Twitter post he’s had pinned atop his account for more than two years.
Baker is speaking about scars. And how many he has.
“Quite a bit,” Baker said Tuesday. “Quite a bit.”
Baker is rookie linebacker from Ohio State, a third-rounder. And right now, he’s a second-teamer. And right now, Baker can actually draw upon his freshman season in Columbus, when he questioned why he was struggling.
Then, older teammates like Raekwon McMillan (now a teammate with the Dolphins) pulled him aside. And assured him. We all need scars.
“I don’t need anybody to take it for me,” Baker said. “That pretty much was my whole college career. Coming in as a freshman, being behind some first rounders, Raekwon and all of those guys, they just sat me down and said, ‘You need all the pressure and all the hard times you go through. It’s going to pay off in the end.’ Honestly, it did and I kind of just stick to that. The hard times are going to come, but they’re not going to last.”
Baker has speed and athleticism and an ability to run and cover. But he doesn’t have the experience. It’s why a veteran like Stephone Anthony is ahead of him right now.
“I’m learning the playbook pretty well; but now it’s just the focus on the little details,” Baker said. “The little things I’m pretty much focusing on. The basic things are going well, but the little things is what’s going to separate me.”
Baker can draw a direct parallel to his college experience.
“I’ve been through it before, so I know it’s going to come and it’s going to go,” he said. “So, just take advantage of it and try to learn as much as you can. The faster you learn, the faster it gets over with.”
Baker knows with time, mistakes will become fewer and further between.
“The physical part, I really never really questioned,” he said. “It was more the mental part of, ‘I keep making the same petty mistake.’ And after a while, three mistakes turned into two, those two mistakes turned into one and next thing you know, you’re not making as many mistakes anymore. The mental part is what’s – with any athlete – is what’s the hard part. Once I got that under control, the physical part just took care of itself.”
Ohio State has a tradition of linebacker play that is hard to live up to.
“My freshman year at Ohio State, that was the biggest hard time in my life,” Baker said. “Coming in as a senior in high school and a star player, you think I’m going to come in and pretty much do whatever I want to do, be behind Darron Lee, Christopher Worley, Josh Perry, Raekwon (McMillan). They humble you fast. They try to bring you along, but they understand that it’s a growing process and they definitely helped me.”
Baker’s social media accounts are worth following. At @Lastname_Baker, he’s constantly trying to motivate himself and others.
“Don’t count the day, make the days count.” – 11 June 2018
“I just don’t got time to feel sorry for nobody. Nobody felt sorry for me. #KeepPushing” 5 June 2018
“Sitting in a chair, but in the future it’s a throne.” 29 May 2018
But Baker has elected to keep his post about scars atop his account for some time, now.
“I need that struggle,” he said.