Bears safety Eddie Jackson practices, taking huge step in injury recovery

On a team devoid of stars, Jackson’s return to health is an important June development.

SHARE Bears safety Eddie Jackson practices, taking huge step in injury recovery
Bears safety Eddie Jackson practiced Wednesday.

Bears safety Eddie Jackson practiced Wednesday.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Bears safety Eddie Jackson didn’t think he had a serious injury when he limped off the MetLife Stadium turf Nov. 27 during a game against the Jets. In the locker room, though, a trainer asked him to stand on his toes. He couldn’t.

It was a Lisfranc injury in his left foot. The injury to bones and ligaments in his midfoot is one of the scariest phrases in the NFL.

Jackson, though, was able to avoid surgery. This week, he took the biggest step in his recovery, practicing during OTAs. Jackson did individual work earlier in the week and jumped in for some team drills Wednesday at Halas Hall.

“Eddie has worked his tail off to get back to where he is,” coach Matt Eberflus said after practice. “He’s in really good shape for working with the rehab staff. 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.”

Jackson, who declined comment, has climbed back from injury before. He broke his leg as a senior at Alabama, falling to the fourth round in the draft, where the Bears selected him.

“It just impressed me, with his work ethic,” Eberflus said. “And the ability to handle adversities. And he’s had that throughout his whole career. Coming out of college he had that. He’s had that in some different avenues in his life. He’s just a strong man. 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.”

On a team devoid of stars, Jackson’s return to health is an important June development. Paired with safety Jaquan Brisker and playing alongside cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon and second-round pick Tyrique Stevenson, Jackson is the veteran anchor of an otherwise young defensive backfield.

“He just came in [last year] and took the leadership role and taught me a lot of things,” Brisker said. “Showed me a lot of things about different quarterbacks, different formations and things like that. So it was huge last year.”

No player on the Bears’ roster made more than Jackson’s $15.1 million cap hit last year. This season, only new receiver DJ Moore will top his $17.1 million. In fact, Jackson will make $8.2 million more in base salary than the next-highest-paid defender, tackle Justin Jones.

He could be worth every penny. Even with the injury, Jackson is coming off his best season since 2019. His 80 tackles, in only 12 games, fell two short of his season high. His four interceptions were double his total from the previous three seasons.

He averaged a pick every three games last year after averaging one every 7.6 games in his first five years. As such, he earned Eberflus’ first Ballhawk Award.

Jackson’s success started in the offseason last year, Eberflus said.

“Our best players have to be the hardest workers — and he didn’t miss a day,” Eberflus said. “And he was humming during training camp. Got himself into great physical shape, the best you can get into.”

Now he’s healthy enough to do it again.

“The success he’s had in the past and the success he had last year, going in before his injury, says volumes for him,” Eberflus said.

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