Eddie Jackson

Why Bears safety Eddie Jackson is especially grateful to be with team this year

Jackson has endured a roller coaster since Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus took over the team

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When word got out that Eddie Jackson suffered a Lisfranc injury in Week 12 last season, there were legitimate questions if Jackson would be able to play football again. NFL players who suffer the injury are largely able to return to the game without any significant dropoff in their play, according to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2016. More significant Lisfranc injuries can be career enders, though. The same study found 7% of NFL players who suffered Lisfranc injuries never played again.

Jackson was fortunate. His foot recovered quickly so doctors determined he wouldn’t need surgery. That not only meant he stood a very good chance of returning to the game, he would likely have a much shorter recovery time, too.

“That was a big blessing,” Jackson said. “The pain went down, the swelling went down pretty fast. I did have a lot of bruising, and when we got the news I was so excited.”

Once Jackson got the green light, he started attacking his rehab aggressively. He stayed in Chicago to work with a whole host of trainers and rehab specialists from the Bears’ department of athletic training. When he wasn’t at Halas Hall, he put in extra work with his personal doctor. 

“I haven't had any time off, no vacation time,” Jackson said.

Jackson appreciated the camaraderie of rehabbing at Halas Hall, because he got to work alongside other Bears trying to recover from injuries of their own like Jack Sanborn and Darnell Mooney. Jackson said he fed off of their energy throughout the process, and they fed off of his energy.

Everything culminated with Jackson’s return to the practice field as the Bears wrapped up OTAs. He participated in individual drills and dabbled a bit into the team periods. One week later, Jackson took even more reps in those critical team periods as he continued to ramp up from his rehab. Throughout it all, Jackson went full go. He ran at a full sprint and never appeared to hold back.

“They did a great job, a wonderful job of just putting me in positions before testing it out, trusting it,” Jackson said. “The rehab and everything we were doing, it was different, but it worked.”

The past year or so has been trying for Jackson. His place with the Bears was in question when Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus took over in January 2022. Jackson bought into Eberflus' H.I.T.S. program and enjoyed a bit of a career renaissance. When Robert Quinn was traded to the Eagles, Jackson was named a team captain. Now he’s a leading voice in the Bears locker room. 

There was a chance all of that could have been taken away by his injury. When reflecting on the entire process Jackson said he learned not to take anything for granted.

“It makes you more grateful for football… It just makes you grateful for the little things: being able to go out there and practice, being able to go out there and run and give it all you’ve got.”

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