Jesse Bennett "Benny" PerrinOctober 20, 1959 ~ February 3, 2017 (age 57)
Jesse Bennett "Benny" Perrin was born October 20, 1959, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange County, CA, to Joe and Barbara Perrin. Benny was the younger of two sons. He was 18 months younger than his brother, Braxton Perrin. When Benny was in elementary school, Joe's retirement from the military landed the Perrins in Decatur, AL. Benny found his love for sports at The Boy's Club. He attended Decatur High School, where he stole the stage with his extraordinary talents in baseball, basketball, and football. He was a quarterback and defensive back for the late coach, Earl Webb, at Decatur. He earned High School All-American and All-State Honors in football in 1976 and 1977. Decatur made the Class 4A State Semifinals in football in his junior and senior years. Decatur went 20-5 in Benny's two years as starting quarterback. He was named All-State in baseball and basketball in 1977 and 1978. He was a starting guard for the basketball team in 1977 - 1978 season. That year, Decatur made it to the semifinals in the class 4A State Tournaments under Coach Earl Morris. He also started at shortstop for Decatur's baseball team for four years.
After high school, Benny played football and baseball at The University of Alabama. He had the honor of playing under the legendary Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1978 - 1981. Benny's two interceptions against Auburn in 1981 helped the "Bear" reach his 315th record-breaking win. He was Defensive Player of the Year for Alabama, and played in the 1982 Senior Bowl. During this time, Benny had to ask permission from Coach Bryant to marry his high school sweetheart, Debbie Morris Halbrooks.
Perrin was drafted in the third round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, and played four seasons in the league. He was the first player to win Defensive Player of the Week in his first ever start as a rookie. In addition, he was an alternate to the 1982 Pro Bowl. He played in 48 games, had 9 interceptions, and 1 touchdown. He was Defensive Captain as a rookie, and had numerous game balls. After a routine physical detected a cervical fracture, Benny was forced to retire from the NFL.
The Perrins then returned to Decatur and opened BB Perrins BBQ. They gave birth to three wonderful children, Jesse (Anna Marie), Mary Caitlin Brown (Alex), and Sara Beth. On February 2, 2007, Benny married his wife, Courtney. The have had 10 years of marriage and a lifetime of memories together. He was fortunate to experience the birth of his first grandson, Brooks Bennett Perrin, on July 4, 2016. Benny spent his free time assisting his son, Jesse, coaching freshmen and JV baseball for the Hartselle Tigers. Coaching was a passion he loved dearly. More than anything else, Benny enjoyed spending time with his family. They were his love and his priority.
Benny's success from football didn't come without a price. Throughout his football career he suffered several concussions. The past few years he silently fought a battle he ultimately could not overcome, although he tried with all his might. Benny suffered from chronic migraines, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia that he could not escape. His family witnessed his mental health declining. Despite seeking medical help, Benny took his own life on February 3, 2017. Our family is determined that neither his pain, nor his death will not be in vain. We will fight to shed light on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and the effects of multiple concussions on the brain. It is for this reason, the family requests that, in lieu of flowers, monetary donations be made to the Sports Legacy Institute. Donate online by visiting https://trusted.bu.edu/s/1759/2-bu/giving or write checks to: "Trustees of Boston University" with "BU CTE Center" in the memo line, and mail to: Boston University School of Medicine, 72 East Concord ST, L-219, Boston, MA 02118.
Benny had a relationship with Jesus Christ, and because of that we know that we will see him again. We want to encourage everyone to continue his legacy by loving, serving, and caring for others the way he always did. Please join us on Sunday, February 12, 2017, at 5:23 p.m. at Epic Church to celebrate the life of our hero, our number 23!