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Pro Bowl is nice, but Jackson aiming higher


ORLANDO, Fla. – Eddie Jackson greatly appreciates being voted to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive season. But the Bears safety would prefer to be playing in the other "bowl" game a week from Sunday in Miami Gardens.

"I'd rather be playing in [the Super Bowl] than here any day," Jackson said following Wednesday's NFC Pro Bowl practice in Orlando. "We've got next year coming and I'm excited about it. We've got a while to go before football starts back up. But we're just ready to get back to it for real."

Jackson says that "everyone's motivated" to help the Bears rebound from a disappointing 8-8 season and revert to the form they showed in 2018 when they won the NFC North with a 12-4 record. The 2017 fourth-round pick from Alabama is confident they'll bounce back because of the culture that coach Matt Nagy has created and the talent that general manager Ryan Pace has assembled.

"From my first day walking in there as a rookie until now, you see the change," Jackson said. "You see the big difference in the type of players we have."

The Bears certainly possess star power on a defense that helped the team rank fourth in the NFL in points allowed (18.6 per game) and eighth in total yards (324.1). Jackson is one of three players from the unit who was named to the Pro Bowl; he'll join cornerback Kyle Fuller in the secondary in Sunday's game at Camping World Stadium, while outside linebacker Khalil Mack will not play due to an undisclosed injury.

Jackson was selected to the Pro Bowl this season after recording 60 tackles and two interceptions—both of which came late in games and sealed wins over the Lions and Vikings. He also registered five tackles-for-loss, five pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

"It's always a blessing when you get picked to come out here," Jackson said. "It's fun just to be around the guys and see different type of personalities off the field."