College Roots Revisited for Eddie Jackson Against Dallas

Gene Chamberlain

At some point in Thursday night’s game with the Dallas Cowboys, Bears safety Eddie Jackson will return to his practice days at Alabama under coach Nick Saban.

He’ll be going head-to-head against Dallas wide receiver Amari Cooper, like when he was a freshman and sophomore at Tide practice.

“He’s really the one that got my coverage skills good,” Jackson said Saturday at Halas Hall. “You know, I used to go against him every day.”

Jackson called the battles a major step in his development.

“It was big,” Jackson said. “Coach Saban put me in that fire early. So I feel like he knew that going up against Coop was going to bring the best out of me. And you know it did honestly.”

If Jackson has good memories of those one-on-one practice battles, they’re also tough ones.

“There was one time in practice, man, he was killing me,” Jackson said. “I was a freshman. I looked back at coach Saban like, ‘all right man.’”

There was no waving the white flag in Tide practices, though. Jackson said Saban shot back: “ ‘Don’t look back at me Eddie, I’m not going to take him off you.’ ”

The hard part came Jackson’s freshman year, but by spring ball Jackson said he had it figured out.

“Going into spring ball after my freshman year, that’s when everything came,” Jackson said “I’m like, “all right, I got him.’

“You know we’d go do one-on-ones and now it’s going tit-for-tat. It used to be Amari, Amari, Amari; now it’s Amari, Eddie, Amari, Eddie. So you know hats off. Like I said he helped me build it and get me polished up to be able to cover.”

Jackson will probably try to get a Cooper jersey after the game. He’s been collecting jerseys of former Alabama players and has A’Shawn Robinson, Rueben Foster and Marlon Humphrey.

If Jackson was collecting all the former Alabama players’ jerseys, he’d fill up a chest of drawers. There were 56 on NFL rosters on opening day and it makes for some interesting NFL rivalries.

“It’s fun, it’s competitive just for us sharing the field,” Jackson said. “ Now we’re on opposite sidelines it’s a little chitter-chatter here and there, but it’s all love at the end of the day.”

On Thursday, Jackson just hopes he’s collecting a jersey as a winner. He came up with his first interception of the season on Thanksgiving against the Lions to clinch the game.

“Yeah it felt pretty good,” Jackson said “ Most importantly we got the win. That was the best feeling.

“You know, that’s two games in a row right now. Let’s try to make it three, let’s just go win it out.”


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