STACY ROST

Seahawks’ Michael Jackson using what he’s learned from star CBs he’s backed up

Nov 4, 2022, 1:16 PM
Seahawks Michael Jackson...
Mike Jackson of the Seattle Seahawks breaks up a pass intended for Drake London of the Atlanta Falcons at Lumen Field on September 25, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

In case you forget, the NFL will remind you: this league is a business. It’s something Seahawks cornerback Michael Jackson realized early when he was cut by the Dallas Cowboys just three months after being drafted in the fifth round in 2019’s class. Since then, getting released has been a bit easier.

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“Honestly, when you’ve been cut as many times as I’ve been cut, (being released) doesn’t even matter,” Jackson said during an interview with The Huddle on Seattle Sports Station. “I got cut my rookie year by Dallas. That was the worst one because it was like, ‘Y’all just drafted me three months before and now you’re telling me you don’t want me.’ So after that you kind of understand and you get numb to it and you don’t let it affect you, you just build on it. Because everybody has a story and this is just mine.”

He made a few stops along the way, spending time in both Detroit and New England, all while being waived multiple times and traded once. Last September, he landed with the Seahawks, which is where his story developed further and saw him become a full-time starter.

Rookie Tariq Woolen may have captured much of the attention this season (he was just named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month) but Jackson has held his own on the other side. And if you’re wondering why you haven’t heard more about Jackson before this year, it’ll make sense once you hear some of the names he’s played behind.

In Detroit, Jackson rode the bench behind star corner and team captain Darius Slay. In New England, he played behind Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson.

“It got to a point where it was just like, ‘Am I actually going to get a shot not playing behind Pro Bowl corners?” Jackson joked, “But at the same time, looking back on it, I sat behind J.C. Jackson when he had nine picks that year, Gilly (Stephon Gilmore) when he was coming off of Defensive Player of the Year, and in Detroit sat behind (Darius) Slay. Dallas was Byron Jones and coach (Kris) Richard, who was here (in Seattle). So, it’s kind of like don’t take that for granted, appreciate that. Because in the games I’m playing now, I’m using all the things I learned from them.”

With J.C. Jackson, that lesson was simple: go get the ball. Against the Steelers in the preseason, Michael Jackson didn’t turn to look for the ball on a fade to receiver George Pickens. J.C. noted: “How can you expect to get the ball if you don’t look for it?” With Gilmore, whom Jackson described as a smart player, it was a quick process of elimination.

“He would tell you ball opposite hash, don’t expect the out route. And it’s something so simple. But he was like you can’t cover every route.”

The goal this year is simple. Growth. When Jackson turns on the tape, he wants to see this Arizona game look better than his last. But from week to week, at least one thing has been true in each contest: Once you step on the field, you can’t have fear. That includes when he steps on the field this Sunday against one of the league’s best receivers DeAndre Hopkins.

“Yeah he a dawg,” Jackson said. “But I’m a dawg too.”

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Seahawks’ Michael Jackson using what he’s learned from star CBs he’s backed up