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10 Most Important Bears of 2023: #10 Eddie Jackson

For the 15th straight year we’re bringing you who we believe will be the ten most important Chicago Bears for the upcoming season, and kicking off the list is safety Eddie Jackson.

Chicago Bears Offseason Workout Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears are one of the youngest teams in the NFL, but they’re counting on the most veteran member of their defense for playmaking and leadership during the 2023 season. A season ago, safety Eddie Jackson bounced back nicely after getting into a scheme that fits his skills better, and before he went on injured reserve, he was among the leading vote-getters for the Pro Bowl. He had 80 tackles, four interceptions, and two forced fumbles in 12 games, and while the Lisfranc injury was unfortunate, he didn’t need surgery to fix his foot.

He missed the early portion of the 2023 offseason program rehabbing, but he was given the green light for their final OTA, and he also participated in June’s minicamp.

The 29-year-old Jackson has embraced his role in the Bears’ young secondary that will have 24-year-olds Jaylon Johnson (CB) and Jaquan Brisker (S), and 23-year-olds Kyler Gordon (NB) and Tyrique Stevenson (CB) starting with him this season.

“These years, we can’t waste them,” Jackson said via the team site on June 14. “I’ve got to lead by example. I’ve got to go out there and play the best ball that I can and go out there and make plays … It’s huge. It’s Year 7 for me, so there’s not more years to waste. Every year I want to come out and improve and get better and better.”

Last offseason Jackson was still trying to find his place within the new coaching regime, but once he understood Coach Matt Eberflus’ H.I.T.S. philosophy, he settled in and became a team leader. In fact, Coach ‘Flus named him a team captain in November following the trades of Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith.

During OTAs Eberflus talked about Jackson’s work ethic and his ability to overcome adversity both professionally and personally.

“He’s had that throughout his whole career,” Eberflus said via the team’s site. “Coming out of college he had that. He’s had that in some different avenues in his life. He’s just a strong man. I just commend him for standing on solid ground. He’s done a really good job of coming back from that. He looks at adversity as opportunity, and I think that’s a great way to look at it. When you see adversity hit, he sees opportunity to show greatness and to get stronger.”

Jackson is within striking distance of some Bears’ milestones as he enters his seventh NFL season. He’s currently tied with Mike Brown for the most fumbles returned for touchdowns in team history with three. His six defensive touchdowns are tied with Lance Briggs, and they trail only Brown (7) and Charles Tillman (9).

What are you guys expecting from Jackson in 2023?