A week ago, Eddie Jackson predicted via a Tweet that he's going to have "one of the best seasons ever played by a safety."
Back after missing the final five games last year with a foot injury, Jackson is just as determined to help turn the Bears into a championship contender—and he's confident that they're capable of achieving that objective.
"It's just trying to get back with the team and turn this thing around," Jackson said. "That's what it's about, mostly. We already know what we've been through. So this is just a new identity, man. Just try to turn this thing around, and I feel like we've got the guys and the pieces to do that this year."
Since being selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft out of Alabama, Jackson has experienced just one winning season with the Bears. That came in 2018 when they won the NFC North Division title with a 12-4 mark.
"It motivates you a lot because it's very frustrating," Jackson said. "Nothing about me is a loser. I hate losing. I don't like it. I feel like it shouldn't be acceptable. So just come in here working day-in, day-out, year-in, year-out, and just getting this thing to where we know it can be."
Jackson's optimism is fueled by the upgrades that were made on defense during the offseason. The Bears signed linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards, end DeMarcus Walker and tackle Andrew Billings in free agency and drafted tackles Gervon Dexter Sr. and Zacch Pickens and cornerback Tyrique Stevenson.
"Like I said, I feel like this year is one of the best years I've felt where we have a lot of key pieces where we really can do it," Jackson said. "We really can turn it around. We have guys who care about football in that locker room, guys who go out there and bust their tail.
"Even though I wasn't out there in the beginning [of OTAs], the feedback I got and when I was out there and watching film, just seeing our guys flying around was a different feeling."
“Nothing about me is a loser. I hate losing. I don’t like it. I feel like it shouldn’t be acceptable.” Bears safety Eddie Jackson
The defense is certainly a different unit with Jackson on the field. He was enjoying a resurgent 2022 season when he was injured last Nov. 27 against the Jets. At the time, he led the Bears with 61 tackles, four interceptions, six pass breakups and two forced fumbles—and topped NFC free safeties in Pro Bowl voting.
Jackson is a two-time Pro Bowler who is tied for third in Bears history with linebacker Lance Briggs with six career defensive touchdowns, trailing only cornerback Charles Tillman (9) and safety Mike Brown (7).
Jackson's drive to revert to that level of play no doubt is one reason he made such a bold prediction on Twitter last week.
"You know the mindset you've got to speak it into existence?" Jackson said. "I wanted to put that statement in last year, but I wasn't able to finish that. So this year, having guys like 'Tre' (Edmunds) and the key pieces we have on defense, I feel like it's going to be one of those years. Sometimes you've just got to better yourself, and I feel like if I bring my best and I feel like if other guys bring their best, that's what's going to help the team.
"Like I said, it's all about turning those things around."