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'This was probably the hardest game I've ever played': Josh Jacobs played with his father at the forefront of his mind Saturday

Saturday's game for Josh Jacobs should not be defined by the numbers next to the name on the box score. It should utterly be defined by the guts and heart it took to suit up and play a football game.

The running back has enjoyed a career season, leading the league in rushing yards, scrimmage yards and carries heading into the Week 18 matchup. However, he had to make a frightening detour back home to Tulsa, Oklahoma, this past week after his father suffered a medical emergency, prompting Jacobs' 6-year-old son to call 911.

"My son and my dad are like best friends," Jacobs said postgame. "You see one, you always see the other. I'm just happy he's really smart enough to understand what was going on in that situation. It was rough for me trying to explain to him what happened and stuff like that. I told him I'm proud of him. My Pops said he's his hero."

Jacobs was originally not planning on playing in Saturday's game, citing "family comes first" over football. But on Friday morning Jacobs' father told him he wanted him to play and the running back flew back the night before the game.

"This was probably the hardest game I've ever played," said Jacobs, who wrote "Pops" over his eyeblack for his father. "Not in the sense of physical or anything like that, just mentally. Trying to stay in it. Being on the sideline and having too much time to think. Think about what's going on and think about being a rock of your family. It's never easy when the person that is your rock is going through it."

When asked about the support he received from the locker room amid the situation, Jacobs said "that's what made coming back good." He described his appreciation for the staff and locker room for being so understanding of his absence from the team, including Head Coach Josh McDaniels.

"That's a testament to him and his family. That was totally on their discretion," said McDaniels. "We understood the situation and I'm not going to get into the specifics of that, I respect their privacy. JJ knew he had whatever he wanted from us relative to support. We understood and respected the situation.

"If he had chosen not to, I would've completely understood that. But he came back, and I give him a ton of credit for giving it a go and trying to help us win a game at the end of the season."

After the game, edge rusher and good friend Maxx Crosby said Jacobs' family is in his prayers and that the fourth-year player "has got every bit of respect from me and all these guys in the locker room."

While the Raiders weren't able to secure the victory, Jacobs' will to compete under his given circumstances has certainly been commended. He said after the game he'll be returning back to Tulsa immediately to be with his father.

"It just put it into perspective how precious life is, in general," Jacobs said, visibly emotional. "I think we get caught up, especially in this sport, with the outcomes of things. With wins, with losses, how good you played. You kind of forget that life is more important. For me, man, that's all I'm caring about right now."

View photos from the Raiders' Week 18 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium.

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