Jason Cabinda’s backstory is a fantastic one — just ask the Penn State linebacker’s teammates. Between hilarious stories from the locker room, to his vibrant, elated personality, Jason Cabinda is truly one of the team’s most fascinating members.
This weekend, Cabinda drew some praise for his classic look, highlighted by his retro neckroll. His combination of look and exuberant play is hard to find in college football, and everyone’s taking notice — even former Cincinnati Bengals star Chad Johnson, better referred to as Ochocinco.
Whoever #40 is for Penn State playing w/ the Brian Bosworth/Eric Dickerson neck roll is savage 💯
— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) October 28, 2017
It wasn’t just the seven total tackles Cabinda totaled on Saturday while flying around the field. But Cabinda, ever savvy on social media, took a joking shot at Johnson — one of the self-proclaimed kings of the FIFA soccer video game.
He can beat you in FIFA 2K18 too 😴😈 https://t.co/DbLjnTH9tr
— Jason Cabinda (@jasoncabinda) October 31, 2017
Cabinda has a presence, and he’s loving every second of it. “That was pretty cool,” Cabinda said of the interaction. “I’ve followed Chad Johnson for a long time — he was one of my favorite players in the league, so that was pretty funny.”
On the fashion side, Cabinda was candid about his neckroll acknowledgement. It’s akin to former Notre Dame and current Florida quarterback Malik Zaire’s use of retro loose-sleeved jerseys; it’s all about comfort, and it just works. “I’ve honestly been wearing it pretty much since I got [to Penn State],” Cabinda said. “It kind of just works for me. The fans are really into it, obviously — it’s a kind of older style neckroll, those are the ones I really like. It just works really well.”
Given the opportunity, we simply couldn’t turn down the chance to ask Cabinda who his FIFA team of choice is, and why in fact he could take down Johnson in a game.
“Manchester City,” Cabinda said with a smirk. “Sergio Aguero’s a dog.”
Jason Cabinda is having fun, but as the team’s vocal leader and trusted captain, he serves another purpose off the field. Though he’s not a coach, he’s about the next best thing.
Cabinda’s leadership qualities have been lauded since he stepped foot on campus by coaches and players alike, but the key to his effective style is that it’s intrinsic — nobody’s telling him how he should do things, or even to do them in general. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a shock to learn it was Cabinda who helped orchestrate the players-only meeting held by the Nittany Lions on Sunday. The theme of the meeting? Don’t panic. Everything will be just fine.
“We just felt there were some things we kind of had to get off our chest,” Cabinda said. “Just making sure the mentality of the team was the same, and that we were taking the same approach. It was about knowing that there’s a ton of football left for us.”
The positive mindset echoed by James Franklin isn’t a facade; the coach’s approach to molding his team’s mentality has had a trickle down effect. Not one person within the program is worried, while half the fanbase seems ready to write the Nittany Lions out of the College Football Playoff. Penn State football needs a leader like Jason Cabinda right now. Luckily, the team’s heart and soul is thriving on and off the field.
We certainly hope Ochocinco takes Cabinda up on that FIFA match, however.