COLDFUSE from Oakley
By Christine Yeh
It’s appropriate Derwin James Jr. wears his team’s lightning bolt logo on his uniform—the star free safety of the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers has lightning fast reaction on the field. As the last line of defense on the field, free safety players might not grab the spotlight as often as their offensive quarterback and wide receiver teammates do, but their responsibilities are among the most vital in the game to successfully defend their team against the opposing team from scoring. This requires them to have an excellent field of vision in watching plays unfold so they can follow the ball and provide the most effective man coverage.
Derwin James Jr.’s got all that covered. Selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft following three seasons at Florida State University, the 23 year old was invited to his first Pro Bowl during his rookie year and named first-team All-Pro. Known for his sharp visual and physical instincts and electric athleticism on the field, James Jr. joined Team Oakley in 2019, concurrent to the brand’s partnership with the NFL to provide players with football helmet shields equipped with Oakley’s Prizm Clear lens technology. Engineered to optimize detail recognition in the football environment, Prizm Clear provides ultra-precise color tuning to enhance detail and help improve players’ performance on the field, while offering protection for their eyes. James Jr. wore the Prizm Clear shield during the 2019 season, and it’s now an integral part of his game. Off the field, he sports Oakley’s lifestyle eyewear also equipped with Prizm lenses. This month, James Jr. steps off the gridiron covering our sport eyewear issue and shares how Prizm Clear has become a game changer for him.
CY: You signed on with Oakley prior to the 2019 NFL season. Tell us what it means to be a member of Team Oakley.
Los Angeles Chargers
DJ: It’s amazing to be part of a team that not only includes fellow athletes from my sport, but also top athletes from a variety of backgrounds like baseball, snow, bike and golf. Oakley is known for providing the best products for elite athletes around the world, and I’m just thrilled to be involved with that.
On the field this season, you wore Oakley’s football shield with Prizm Clear. Can you describe how it has enhanced your on field performance?
Prizm Clear is in the name. It allows me to see more clearly and trust my vision while I’m out on the field making split-second decisions. The shield has opened my field of vision and pick up on details in my environment I probably wouldn’t have noticed in the past.
You play the defensive position of free safety for the Chargers. Can you explain the free safety’s job on the field, and how the Prizm shield has helped you during play?
I play a position that requires me to see the entire field, make quick decisions and rapidly respond to what I see the other team doing. Prizm Clear has changed the game for me, giving me the confidence I need while I pick up on details and signals.
Prior to the Oakley partnership, did you wear a shield on your helmet during games? Compare the difference between not wearing a shield, or if you have worn one in the past, the difference you’re seeing with Oakley’s Prizm shield.
I wore a shield a couple times but not an Oakley shield. I liked wearing a shield because I felt protected but I couldn’t find one that didn’t fog up. When I partnered with Oakley and started wearing the Prizm shield, it never fogged up on me.
What are some of your favorite activities during the off season and when you’re not playing football?
Easy question. Outside of hanging with my friends and working out, I love playing video games. Madden is my game of choice and nobody can beat me.
In addition to their football shield and designing sport performance products for some of the top athletes in the world, Oakley is also known for their active and lifestyle eyewear for everyday people. Which Oakley eyewear styles do you wear off the field? Do you have a favorite style?
I rock a few of Oakley’s sunglasses, but you’ll usually see me in the Deadbolt. It’s super sleek with a unique side that looks like a lightning bolt. Other styles I like are the Sutro and EVZero Blades, which always catch people’s attention.
If you can play another sport besides football, what would it be and why?
I love playing basketball. I played growing up and some of my favorite athletes are basketball players. It’s a great workout, and I have a great jump. ■