A Notre Dame product, Jackson was drafted by the New York Giants in the sixth round in 2014. He didn’t make the team out of camp, signed to the practice squad, then suffered a major knee injury while jogging in an early-season practice, which required microfracture surgery.
Jackson moved to safety the following year and was, miraculously, in position to be the team’s starter. Then he tore his ACL late in the fourth quarter of the Giants’ second preseason game.
He came back again in 2016, but the injuries were bothering him. The Giants cut him in training camp, and this time they didn’t ask him to come back.
Jackson spent more than a year out of football, just working out and waiting for somebody to give him a chance, before the Ravens signed him a few days after the 2017 season ended. A sports hernia at about this time last year ended his season once again.
“You’ve got to take life when it comes at you,” Jackson said. “I’ve been frustrated. You’re always going to be frustrated about something. You just have to take the negatives and make them positives. Whenever a bad situation comes, I just look at what’s next now.”
Jackson’s interception was just another example in his playmaking ability. Since he landed with the Ravens, he’s been a practice standout, always seemingly around the ball. But at nearly 28 years old and without any regular-season stats on his resume, it’s hard for Jackson to sell himself as an NFL playmaker.
“A lot of times people forget,” he said. “You’ve got to remind people. This is a production league. I would love to make the team. That’s the whole goal. But just work the next day. If you focus on that and continue to work toward that, good things are going to happen.”
Jones is another player making sure people don’t forget about him. A former second-round pick of the New England Patriots, Jones was thrilled to come back to his hometown Baltimore at midseason. He was a hit as their punt returner, and his 70-yard punt return touchdown against the Oakland Raiders flipped that game.