It was setting up to be a marvelous season for Jamaal Jackson. The former undrafted rookie free agent, who developed into perhaps the most consistent player along the offensive line, was coming off of a remarkably quick recovery of an ACL tear that he suffered in December of the 2009 season. Despite athletes typically needing anywhere from eight to 12 months until they can physically return to play after sustaining a serious knee injury, Jackson worked hard and, against all odds, managed to be a part of the starting lineup for the opening game this year. With the new campaign barely underway, however, Jackson was sidelined again with what would turn out to be a torn triceps tendon, which landed him on the Injured Reserve list and ended his 2010 season much earlier than he expected. Now, with young replacement Mike McGlynn filling in nicely, the veteran acknowledges that it’s possible his career in midnight green could be over.
Of course, Jackson (pictured in a shot captured at this year’s Training Camp) doesn’t want this season to be his last in Philadelphia, but he himself has seen a move by the Eagles that could very well happen again; after Hank Fraley went down with an injury in 2005, Jackson stepped in and ultimately took over as the full-time starting center. Jackson realizes that he might soon be put into the place Fraley was in, especially with the potential McGlynn has for the future and the signs of success he has already shown on the field. “I know how it goes,” he said in an interview with Geoff Mosher, a writer for the Wilmington News-Journal newspaper. “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it…the team is going to do what’s in the best interest of the team. Right now, Mike is playing good, so what can you do? You always want to finish where you start. I believe in that. If that’s not to be, then so be it. I’ll continue to play elsewhere, but hopefully it’s not. If it is, you have to deal with it.”
All he is focused on right now, however, is recovering from his injury. Jackson expects to be ready to play again by the end of this year, and when that time comes, he hopes to at least get an opportunity to prove he can still be the starter in the months leading up to the 2011 season. If not, and the Eagles indeed decide to move on, it certainly would fit the pattern of the organization’s recent string of notable transactions, for just a fraction of the players on the current roster are over 30 years old (Jackson will be 31 next offseason) and many have been either traded or released, including fan favorites that Jackson used to block for, Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook.