Jordan Sebastian GoFundMe
KINGSTON, R.I. – Talk to those who know him best, and certain common themes come up when the topic turns to Jordan Sebastian.
Selfless. Positive. Hard-working. The consummate teammate.
Sebastian appeared in 40 games as a running back and special teams player for the Rams from 2011-15. He brought different groups together, for the sake of the team.
"While we played at Rhody, Jordan was the ultimate team guy," said Robby Delgado, a fellow running back for Rhode Island from 2011-15. "I remember moving my position to running back from defense, having no idea of what I was doing. This dude would sit up with me late at night making sure I would have all my plays down so I could be successful. This seemed weird to me because we were fighting each other for a spot on the field, but that's just the type of teammate Jordan was.
"Jordan started off as a teammate, but now he is a brother to me because he always pushed me to become the best version of myself on and off the field. He always got my back, and I always will have his."
In March, Sebastian, 24, was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer, and he has undergone multiple treatments and surgeries in the months since. After years of him having his teammates back, now his friends and family are rallying to return the favor.
A GoFundMe.com account has been set up for Sebastian. Over the last week, the effort has raised more than $32,000, with an overall goal of $250,000 to help Sebastian and his family cover medical and travel expenses. Among the more than 400 people who have donated thus far are dozens of current and former Rhode Island football players who played alongside Sebastian.
"Jordan is the consummate locker room glue guy," said former team captain Charlie McKeeman, who played with Sebastian for three seasons. "Everyone gets along with him; everyone likes him. He is someone who worked his butt off every day in practice and never once complained.
"I would say he was the most well-liked guy on the team. As a fifth-year senior, he had a smaller role, but he took it in stride and made the most of every opportunity he had. He is always positive, exactly the kind of guy every team needs to have, regardless of what type of team it is. He came ready to work every day. He loved football, and it showed. I never heard him complain once, and when he got his chance to play, he was ready. When he walked into the huddle, he commanded everyone's trust."
What separated Sebastian from most others was his ability to connect with everyone on the team. It didn't matter what position or class. To Sebastian, a teammate is a teammate.
"A true leader is one who possesses an internal drive and passion that separates them from most, and it's fair to say Jordan has those qualities," said Rodney Chance, a cornerback with the Rams from 2010-14. "Jordan allowed for his actions to lead by example, treating every rep like it was a championship play. Effort is something that does not require much skill rather it requires focus, consistency and a will to never surrender. I'll always remember how much he motivated me to give maximum effort day in and day out, especially during weeks he may have been in the game plan to play a lot on offense and special teams.
"He also would sacrifice first-team reps to give our defense a great look while imitating an opponent's best back, such as Terrance West of Towson or Andrew Pierce of Delaware. He never allowed for his position on the depth chart to change his attitude. That is the true definition of a teammate, one willing to sacrifice his own personal pride and wants for the collective betterment of the team."
Sebastian treated all members of the team with the same level of respect. Not just his fellow players, but the coaches and staff as well. Tyrone Gaye was a student member of the staff, working as a video coordinator. He is and Sebastian remain close friends today.
"Jordan is a strong, giving family-driven man with a pure soul," Gaye said. "He's the type to give his last to see a smile on the faces of his friends and family. He's a man of value with a strong faith in God. He is my brother from another mother."
Sebastian was among the players already on the roster when head coach Jim Fleming arrived in 2014.
"He fought through what had to be a tough first year. We brought in Lyle McCombs and Harold Cooper, and those guys were getting most of the touches," Fleming said. "Of course, we went New Haven close to his home when we played Central Connecticut, and he stepped up and had a strong game. He is everything you want in a football player, and I can't tell you how sick I am about the struggles he is going through right now.
"Jordan exemplifies class. He exemplifies accountability, productivity and persistence, which are the cornerstones of our program. But he had those traits well before we got here. He's a quality human being, and we are thinking about him and his family on a daily basis."
Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn was high school teammates with Sebastian's father.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jordan Sebastian as he continues to battle cancer," Bjorn said. "Jordan has such a positive spirit and is an incredible fighter that he is an inspiration for us all. I am so proud of the many URI Student Athletes, staff and alums as well as many others who have donated to help support Jordan and his family. It says just how important Jordan is and how many people he impacted during his time on campus."
Sebastian's last season with Rhode Island was 2015, but his impact is still felt on the current roster.
"Jordan Sebastian was a loyal, hardworking teammate," said senior Jose Duncan, who played with Sebastian from 2014-15. "He always has a positive energy, and he always did things the right way."
Fellow senior Mike Ezirike spent three seasons lining up across from Sebastian every day in practice, playing with him from 2013-15.
"He was a great teammate," Ezirike said. "Jordan is a hard worker and a fun-loving man. He always had the backs of his teammates."
He graduated with a degree in English Language and Literature/Letters in 2015. Following his playing career, Sebastian began working in the athletic department at his high school alma mater. He has been the defensive coordinator and running backs coach at the Hopkins School in Connecticut. He also has been working toward his master's degree and completed an English teaching fellowship at St. Luke's School in New Canaan, Conn. in 2016.
"Who Jordan was as a teammate directly correlates to who Jordan is as a person," Chance said. "He is a man of tremendous character who constantly puts others first and never ask anything in return. He went to battle each day on that field for us and continues to fight. Please at this time let's continue this fight for a great man, our Rhody brother who certainly has touched and inspired us all."
Teammates Rally to Support Former Ram Jordan Sebastian
Jordan Sebastian GoFundMe