LAKE FOREST – There was a sense of relief when it was announced on Tuesday morning since he’s considered one of the leaders of the Bears’ defense.
A hamstring injury that landed Eddie Jackson on the non-football injury list early in training camp healed enough that the safety was removed from it this week ahead of their preseason opener against the Dolphins Saturday.
It occurred during his training before reporting to Halas Hall for workouts in late July, but Jackson was never afraid that it would be serious enough to threaten his availability for the start of the season.
“Probably doing stuff that was overcompensating one side of my body or something like that. Just trying to grind, man, this offseason was a real grind for me,” said Jackson of the injury suffered during his own individual training. “I probably felt I worked the hardest that I ever worked in the offseason so things like that sort of happened but I wasn’t too concerned about it because I was still was doing everything.”
Indeed that is the case as Jackson, now sporting the No. 4 in his fifth NFL season, as he resumes activities just a month out from the start of the 2021 regular season against the Rams on September 12th. While the team and fans were relieved that Jackson is OK, the safety is eager to return to full workouts as the team continues in its first year under new defensive coordinator Sean Desai.
“Just watching my teammates compete and not being able to join them. Just itching to be in there,” said Jackson of being out of the first part of training camp. “That was the toughest one.”
He’ll return to the defensive backfield with Tashaun Gipson for a second year along with returning cornerback Jaylon Johnson. The unit will be without Kyle Fuller, a two-time Pro Bowler who was let go in the offseason due to salary cap issues, so a new starter on the edge will have to be determined in camp.
While out of activities during the better part of the first two weeks of training camp, Jackson stayed engaged with the group mentally as he continues to work with the defensive backs during training camp.
“Just staying on top of that and just being able to compete,” said Jackson. “There’s nothing like being there out on the field, building that team camaraderie, and just building that chemistry with me and ‘Gip’, all the defense. That’s what I’m most excited about being back.”
It’s a relief to be there for the safety and for the team that will need him quite a bit in 2021.