LAKE FOREST – Bonds that are built as teammates never really go away, even when lining up across from them.
Eddie Jackson has done that a few times in his career with the Bears, but Saturday might be a little different than before. That’s because he’s going up against a player who was the face of his 2017 draft class with the team, even if the safety’s success with the team was more than the quarterback drafted a few rounds ahead of him.
With Buffalo starting quarterback Josh Allen out for their preseason game against the Bears on Saturday at Soldier Field, Mitchell Trubisky is likely to start and see heavy playing time. How the crowd will react to the former second-overall pick who didn’t pan out as the team’s franchise quarterback is still to be determined.
But for Jackson, there’s still plenty of respect for a teammate now turned opponent.
“Mitch is my guy,” said Jackson. “We came in together, so I’m just excited to go up against him.”
It will be the only time he’ll do so this season unless the teams should met in the Super Bowl since the Bears aren’t due to play AFC East teams until 2022. Having watched Trubisky face heavy scrutiny after he began to struggle following the 2018 NFC North championship season, Jackson is excited to see the quarterback get a fresh start in Buffalo.
“I feel like he can put this all behind him. Outside of football, that’s still my guy, he’s still my brother. I want the best for him and his family,” said Jackson. “Him going there, taking this next step, this new chapter in his life is something I feel like he’s going to learn from. He can put all this stuff behind him and prove people wrong.
“Mitch had a lot of people against him, so right now he’s just turning the critics into fans, as I would say. So I feel like this is a good start for him.”
Matt Nagy echoed that sentiment for Trubisky during his final news conference of the week, saying that the Bears care about him as a person and know he’ll continue to compete as hard in Buffalo as he did in Chicago.
“We understand that there’s the business side and then there’s the personal side and the respect I have for him as both, as a person and as a player, I think everybody had that her for him – all of his teammates and coaches,” said Nagy. “When the game’s going on, we’re gonna do everything we can to stop him. When the games over we’re gonna be friends and have good stories.”
Another chapter will begin for Trubisky in 2021, but a bit of the past will be present on Saturday.