WFXR Sports Sitdown : Former NFL player Lional “Jelly Roll” Dalton shares his story about bringing awareness to organ donations


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Detroit native Lional “Jelly Roll” Dalton spent nine seasons playing in the NFL, including being a member of the Super Bowl XXXV champion Baltimore Ravens. Today, Dalton has a bigger, more personal cause. He announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease and needs a transplant.

Dalton sharing his story is two fold — to help himself as well as others in need of a transplant.

“Well before I became knowledgeable and what I am dealing with my kidneys. In ’05 the Kansas City Chiefs doctors told me I had protein in my urine,” said Dalton. “He didn’t explain what that meant, telling me about the protein in my urine is early signs of kidney failure and this is back in ’05 and when I kept reading the symptoms as I got diagnosed, I realized I have been experiencing these symptoms since ’05 and I got diagnosed in 2021.”

The organization Dalton was a part of, when he first joined the NFL, the Living Legacy Foundation, they are helping Dalton right now, this is 20 years ago this had to be a blessing to Dalton because this is something he have signed up for 20 years ago when you were in the league.

“In one of the pictures there is a portrait and I looked at it and I forgot where I got it from and I looked at it. I looked on the back. The Living Legacy Foundation gave me this picture. It was a gift for doing a public service announcement during my second year in Baltimore. It was free public service announcement to get the word out to get people to donate organs. It was something I was doing to get involved in the community in Baltimore when I got there. We talked with them to see if they can connect me with some hospitals in Maryland and I know they have great hospitals in Maryland. So they linked me up with John Hopkins and they linked me up with Good Morning America with an interview and it just so happens it was organ donator month. So I did the interview with Good Morning America. I had two or three Baltimore Ravens fans to call in and says they are in the process of being tested to donate kidneys right now. So it was like a blessing. I tell my wife God has got a since of humor.”

Lional “Jelly Roll” Dalton

Dalton is not begging for help. He wants to use himself as the platform to help others.

“I need a kidney, of course, but I can’t tell you how many people of course who are not my blood type but they want to donate to me. They couldn’t donate to me, but they can donate to someone else with a different blood type,” said Dalton. “See I am an O negative blood type, so I can only take O negative kidneys. People can take my kidneys, but I can’t take everyone else’s kidneys. I have one of the oldest blood types. But people who are coming trying to help me, they might not be able to help me, they could help other people and in return I am helping other people and I am getting messages from other people and thank you for telling me your story.”

For more information on organ donations, visit

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