When Eddie Jackson, the senior safety for Alabama, broke his leg in the fourth quarter while returning a punt against Texas A&M, it created a lot of speculation about the result of the game and even more questions about the remainder of the season. The Alabama Secondary was already questionable in terms depth at the safety position. Although Alabama did manage to pull off the win against the Aggies, they were forced to do so without one of the biggest weapons on their team. This certainly put a damper on the excitement of the win. Eddie Jackson’s broken leg creates some issues for Alabama in terms their NCAA football odds as the season continues.
The bitter sweet results of Saturday could not have have been more sobering for Alabama as it was announced after the game that the safety’s injury was season ending. Eddie was a great player for the team and his contributions have brought a lot of success to the secondary and special teams. He is a great leader for the defensive backs and shares the leadership role for the entire defense as well. When he suffered the leg injury, the possibility of continued success for the Alabama secondary and the return game took a hit. Without a doubt, the team is going to miss having him for the rest of the season. Nick Saban, the coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, had nothing but praise for him and said that Eddie is a great player and great competitor and the team will miss him.
Jackson, the captain of the Alabama secondary and leading punt return specialist, already had 253 kick return yards with two returns for touchdowns for the Tide this season. He also had one of the Tides Pick-6 this season, but with this injury his hopes for breaking the Alabama record for interception returns for touchdowns will now be out of reach.
He recorded his only Pick-6 for the Tide this season by returning a Western Kentucky pass to get a score in the home opener. This is the third of his career and tied the all-time record at Alabama for interception returns for touchdowns. This will be the closest he gets to setting that distinct record at Alabama with the season ending leg injury. With Jackson being a senior, this effectively ends his career for the Crimson Tide as he will be forced to move on as a result of graduation at the end of the academic year. However, he was able to set the Alabama all-time interception return yards record during his time there. Although he came up short for the Pick-6 record at Alabama, his accomplishments in the area of non-offensive touchdowns will be remembered. But his absence now creates many complications for the Crimson Tide.
His loss will be felt. His absence in the games going forward may limit Alabama’s secondary and punt return capabilities. Jackson’s first shot as punt returner came against Ole Miss. He took his very first punt and returned it back for an eighty-five-yard touchdown with 1:05 remaining in the first half of the game. He also returned four punts against Tennessee for one hundred eight yards, including a seventy-nine-yard return for touchdown. His contributions on special teams were a game changer.
After these performances, it wasn’t hard to imagine that Jackson would continue to get better in the future.
Needless to say, he has done exceptionally well for the team. In his words following the injury, Coach Saban stated that he was satisfied and grateful for Jackson’s contributions. But those performances cannot continue for Alabama with the injury Eddie has suffered. You have to deal with injuries in sports. This is unavoidable. It is unfortunate for a team when it happens to a great player and happens at the time when the team needs him most. He is great a player and a good competitor. The team is going to miss Jackson.