Center Jamaal Jackson spent nine months battling from an ACL injury to be ready for the start of the 2010 season. It was an amazing comeback, but sure enough there Jackson was on opening day donning a kelly green jersey along with the rest of his teammates against the Packers.
But midway through the second quarter, Jackson suffered a torn triceps injury that required season-ending surgery. Jackson has been at the NovaCare Complex for rehab. He works daily behind the scenes while the rest of his teammates prepare for games week in and week out. Jackson had started 71 consecutive games since 2005 before suffering the knee injury at the end of the 2009 campaign. Now, after just one game, Jackson has to wait another season and go through another rehab process to get back on the field.
"The craziest thing about being injured is that when you're playing, it's a grind and you wish for downtime. Then when you get it, you don't want it," Jackson said to ESPN The Magazine for a feature on injured players. "I feel like I'm not a part of anything if I'm not out there. You want to be out there earning your living. Instead, you're doing daddy day care. That's harder than playing football. Plus, your muscles deteriorate. Two weeks after I had surgery, I'd already lost 12 pounds. I haven't picked up a weight or walked on a treadmill yet."
Mike McGlynn has been the starter at center in Jackson's absence. Jackson entered the league as a rookie free agent in 2003 and is not one to take a roster spot for granted. Jackson said just before the start of the season that he still gets nervous on cut day. It was an injury that allowed Jackson to get the chance to start for the first time in 2005 and he doesn't want an injury to be the reason he loses his job.
"You never know when it's going to be your last play," Jackson said. "I think about job security and becoming expendable all the time."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 3:30 p.m., October 26