Eddie Jackson

Why Eddie Jackson's return to practice impressed the Bears

Eddie Jackson suffered a scary Lisfranc injury towards the end of the 2022 season

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Eddie Jackson’s return to Bears OTAs this week not only gave the defense a big boost, it also gave the team another reminder of his relentless work ethic and his ability to fight through adversity.

Jackson’s 2022 season came to an abrupt end in Week 12 when he suffered a Lisfranc injury. It’s an injury that affects the bones and ligaments in the middle of the foot, and it's a scary proposition for any athlete. Lisfranc injuries can cut careers short if they’re serious enough. Jackson was fortunate that he didn’t need surgery, which usually indicates a more significant injury, but it’s still no joke.

Just over half a year later however, Jackson was running full speed at Bears practice. He participated in individual drills and mixed in a little bit during team segments. Jackson even got in some extra sprints on the sideline as the special teams units took the field.

“He’s just a strong man,” Matt Eberflus said. “I just commend him for standing on solid ground. He’s done a really good job of coming back from that. 

“He looks at adversity as opportunity. And I think that’s a great way to look at it, when you see adversity hits, he sees opportunity to show greatness and to get stronger.”

When Eberflus took over the Bears program and offered each and every player a clean slate, no player took advantage of the opportunity better than Eddie Jackson. The safety was coming off of several disappointing seasons, and fans openly called for the team to part ways with him. 

But the Bears gave him a shot in their system and were rewarded. Jackson had a renaissance year. He led the team in both interceptions (4) and forced fumbles (2), despite missing the back end of the year. His six passes defended tied for second on the team with Kyler Gordon and his 80 tackles ranked fourth.

At the end of the year the Bears recognized Jackson with several honors ranging from the prestigious Ed Block Courage Award to Eberflus’ very own Ballhawk Award.

“He really embraced what we try to do here and he took off,” safeties coach Andre Curtis said last month. “It was coming together for the kid and it’s a shame that (the injury) happened. The good thing is he’s getting healthy and he’s in a really good mindset. But I thought he was really on his way to do some special stuff.”

The work to having a big comeback in 2022 began in training camp.

“Our best players have to be the hardest workers, and he didn’t miss a day (at training camp last year),” said Eberflus. “He was humming during training camp. Got himself into great physical shape, the best you can get into. It’s hard to get into game shape in training camp.”

That’s the type of leadership Jackson brings to the practice field. It’s something he can’t do unless he’s out there, because it’s one thing to talk the talk and it’s another thing entirely to walk the walk. That’s why having Jackson healthy and back on the practice field is important. It’s something some of the younger players have noticed already, too.

“Really just seeing him lock in,” fellow safety Jaquan Brisker said. “Really just put his head down and lock in and really try to focus on getting back with us.”

“Eddie has worked his tail off to get back to where he is,” Eberflus said. “He’s in really good shape for working with the rehab staff and I want to commend those guys, the training staff, of getting him back and commend Eddie also for the hard work that he’s put in to get to this point.”

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