Colts Cornerback Marlin Jackson Exceeding Expectations, Head Coach Jim Caldwell Says
INDIANAPOLIS – Marlin Jackson was back in a familiar place Thursday.
And there was no place else he wanted to be.
Jackson, a cornerback who missed the final nine games of the 2008 regular season with a knee injury, spent Thursday morning participating in the Colts' organized team activities session at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
Jackson said he ran well, and Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said he is ahead of schedule.
For that, Jackson said he is happy. And grateful.
"I'm ahead of schedule in my rehab process right now," Jackson said. "I've been blessed so far being able to heal up faster than I thought I would. In my own mind, I'm right where I thought I would be at this point in time right now.
"I'm very happy with where I am."
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said the biggest factor right now about Jackson may be keeping him from doing too much in the process.
"Obviously, he has been just real diligent in terms of his rehab and preparation," Caldwell said. "He's moving along well. He certainly has probably exceeded expectations at this point, but he's performing extremely well and doing a great job in terms of leadership.
"He's one of those guys who has a great work ethic. His habits are excellent in all phases of the game – preparation and certainly dealing with an injury. He's working hard to come back as fast as he possibly can."
Jackson sustained the season-ending knee injury in late October and was placed on injured reserve October 30.
"I think guys were surprised – coaches," Jackson said. "Normally, you tell people how you're doing and they don't actually get the sense of how you are until they see you. I guess once everybody got to see me, and see me make some movements and some cuts and things and saw I was ahead of schedule and doing well everybody was happy.
"It definitely feels good. You put a lot of work into get back out on the field. It's a lot of hard work and dedication put into coming back from an injury such as an ACL, so to get back out there and get a feel for the game and get your feet back under you is great."
Jackson, the Colts' first-round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, started eight games at safety in 2006, then started 23 consecutive games at cornerback before the knee injury. He had 112 tackles, an interception and five passes defensed in 2007, then had 57 tackles and a pass defensed in seven games last season.
"I might test some things and make some movements just to see how it feels and to get my confidence back," Jackson said. "But I'm very confident right now. Doing the drills and the work that I do off the field helps me build that confidence up when I step out there in live situations.
"It's really walkthroughs right now, but you can still can move around and it's still a body out there in front of you that you have to go against, which helps you get your confidence back."
Jackson said he is confident he will be ready by the start of the regular season and that he is focused on being ready for training camp, which begins August 2 at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute.
"I just continue to rehab right now and get closer to 100 percent, so by the time camp comes I'll be ready to go full tilt," Jackson said. "I don't think about it. I know now I'll be cleared. Where I'm at right now, I feel like I can get out there.
"I still have a ways to go to get back to my total normal self, but I feel if need be, I could play. I'll be clear, but there's no need to get out there first day of training camp and try to do every single thing. You have to be smart about the situation as well and build the stamina up and test it and go through days and gradually build up and get out there full-time."