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Bears rookie Eddie Jackson named NFC Defensive Player of the Week

Bears safety Eddie Jackson (39) is on his way to a 75-yard touchdown return of a fumble against the Panthers on Sunday. Jackson later intercepted a Cam Newton pass and returned it 76 yards for a touchdown. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

Rookie safety Eddie Jackson was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his historic performance against the Panthers.

Jackson, a fourth-round pick out of Alabama, returned a fumble 75 yards for a touchdown and an interception 76 yards for a TD to spark the Bears’ 17-3 victory. He became the first player in league history to return a fumble and interception 75 yards or more for TDs in the same game. He’s also the first rookie in NFL history with multiple defensive TDs of 75 yards or more in the same season.

Jackson is the first Bear to be named Defensive Player of the Week since defensive end Akiem Hicks in Week 13 last season against the 49ers.


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Cornerback Prince Amukamara, whose deflection set up the interception return, recognized the importance of Jackson’s feat immediately.

“As soon as I saw that he made history, I told him, ‘That jersey, those gloves, your cleats are going to be in Canton [at the Pro Football Hall of Fame] — simply because of those plays,’ ’’ Amukamara said. “I hope he’s a future Hall of Famer, but for those plays, he should be in Canton. He had a great day. A lot of us didn’t know he was that fast because he never had to open up like that.”

Long rested

Guard Kyle Long, who has played five consecutive games since returning from offseason ankle surgery, did not participate in practice Wednesday — a precaution to keep Long as fresh as possible for game day.

Cornerback Sherrick McManis (hamstring), linebacker John Timu (ankle, knee), wide receiver Markus Wheaton (groin) and defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris (hamstring) also did not practice.

Cornerback Bryce Callahan (neck), defensive end Mitch Unrein (quadriceps), running back Benny Cunningham (hamstring) and center Hroniss Grasu (hand) were limited.

Trubisky in charge

Rookie Mitch Trubisky has yet to have a breakout game, but he’s clearly the leader of the offense — taking charge on and off the field and taking the blame when things go wrong.

“I think that’s where he’s won the respect of these guys,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “When you watch how he interacts in the huddle and watch him after the game in the locker room, these guys really care about him. And it’s because he takes ownership of everything.

“We talk about the four sacks we gave up, and we only [tried to throw] the ball 11 times — Mitchell is the first one to say, ‘No. Two of those sacks were on me. That stops and ends with me.’ That accountability he has to teammates and coaches is unique.”

Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.


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