Kareem Jackson forms one-half of what many consider the best safety partnership in the NFL alongside Justin Simmons. But even that didn’t stop the Denver Broncos GM George Paton from releasing Jackson in March to save serious money against the salary cap.
Thankfully, just eight days later, the hard-hitting 33-year-old was back in the building to sign a team-friendly one-year deal worth $5 million dollars.
Returning to the Broncos wasn’t really about swallowing his pride for Jackson; it was more about being a smart, savvy veteran and weighing all his options. Last week, the defender went into some depth about his decision to stick around in the Rockies rather than moving on.
“I think we have a great group of guys here, coaching staff obviously, and this particular scheme that I’m able to play in here,” Jackson explained. “For me it was key to be in a great scheme, so just coming back here where I’m comfortable [at], been here the last two years.”
Paton has head coach Vic Fangio to thank for running a scheme that players like Jackson are keen to remain part of. Despite back-to-back losing seasons, and with many oddsmakers having him as a favorite to be fired this season, Coach Fangio’s reputation as a defensive guru whom vets just love to play for remains undiminished.
Jackson still feels he has the wheels and desire to perform at a high level next season, especially as he is returning to a system he enjoys so much. Now entering the latter stages of his 12-year NFL career, he also knows how crucial it is to keep his body in the best football shape possible.
“Still feeling pretty young, although my age may not say it—when it comes to football years anyway,” Jackson said. “I still feel pretty good. [My] body’s feeling good, moving around really well. Just a matter of me just staying on top of my body, doing the right things when it comes to being out here on the field and my preparation daily. I still feel really good.”
The safety also conceded that staying in the Mile High City not only came down to a familiar working environment, it had a lot to do with his own living preferences.
“Not only that, I didn’t want to move. Moving’s a headache,” Jackson said. “Picking up and going to another city, that’s not something I was ready to do.”
Local moving companies were disappointed, but Broncos Country? Not so much.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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