The 2019 season was an emotional roller coaster for Malik Jackson, to say the least.
Jackson signed a three-year deal to join the Eagles last offseason. The Eagles expected Jackson to create an immediate impact alongside Fletcher Cox, creating arguably the best defensive tackle tandem in the league.
Instead, Jackson suffered a season-ending foot injury in his very first game in midnight green, forcing him to spend the rest of the season living the lonely life on Injured Reserve, in a city far away from his home of Los Angeles.
"Malik Jackson was a big loss for us," said executive vice president/general manager Howie Roseman on Wednesday.
"This is a guy who didn't miss a game in eight years and then 30-some-odd plays into his Eagles career was down, and that was a guy we were really excited about," he added.
Prior to the 2019 season, Jackson played in every game dating back to 2012, his rookie season. Even then, he only missed two games.
Jackson understands that injuries are an unfortunate part of football but admitted to reporters Monday that the sudden change was not easy for him at first. However, he eventually managed to find the positives in the less-than-ideal situation.
"The first two weeks were the hardest, but then you kind of take a breath and understand that it's OK, it happens, and I can come back from it. It's not career-ending. It's OK," Jackson said.
Jackson spent many of his days during the 2019 season at the NovaCare Complex working hard to get back to 100 percent. When he wasn't in Philadelphia, he was back in Los Angeles spending time with his 4-year-old daughter, Nahla. It was time he normally did not have, but the injury, unfortunate as it was, afforded him that opportunity.
The Eagles missed Jackson's presence on the field, but it was felt throughout the season off it, as he was a fixture in the locker room and attended numerous community events.
"The city's been real nice to me; the team's been real good to me, so I just got to come back and be who I know I am," Jackson said. "There's no pressure, but there's really a lot of excitement."
The 2019 season may have had its share of ups and downs for Jackson, but it was also a learning experience for him, and he is "super motivated" to take what he learned onto the field in 2020 and beyond.