Colts Starting Cornerback Made His Training Camp Debut on Monday
TERRE HAUTE – Marlin Jackson developed a new skill over the first week of training camp without setting a foot on the field.
After suffering a season-ending knee injury in the middle of the 2008 season, Jackson was forced to make the transition from starting cornerback to sideline observer, something he said was not easy at first.
This offseason, Jackson said he attacked his rehabilitation work, trying to get ready for camp. But when Jackson reported on Aug. 2, he was placed on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list, regulating him once again to the sidelines.
"I just had to tell myself all week to be patient (and) that my time would come," Jackson said. "I was ready, but I just had to be patient."
On Monday, Jackson's patience finally paid off. The corner was activated from the PUP list and participated in his first practice of the season.
"Overall, it was good," he said. "My legs felt good (enough) to get out there and run around. I did some good things, but there are also some things I need to work on."
Jackson credited his surgeons for his quick comeback and also said he was happy with the way the coaches and medical staff handled his return to football activities.
"The way we did it was the best way, coming in the first week and doing individual things and (then) coming to practice the second week," he said.
When Jackson returned to practice this week he was on a "pitch count" to limit his participation.
"You get overaggressive when you first get back out there…and sometimes when you're overaggressive, you go against what you want to do," Jackson said. "It's just a fact of working back in there, having patience with some things and being more aggressive in other things."
Jackson said he did not feel any hesitation in his knee when he returned to the field, explaining, "That is what rehab is for."
"You can't be thinking, you just have to go," he said.
After Jackson's second day of practice, a time in which recovering players often feel the sorest, Jackson said he felt different – in a good way.
"The second day was even better. Getting after it really, not even thinking about my knee, it was all just natural reaction."
Another thing that is natural to Jackson is going against wide receiver Reggie Wayne on a daily basis, something he values greatly.
"I've been working with Reggie the last two years, he's been my one-on-one partner," Jackson said. "Reggie is a competitive guy and one of the most crafty and smart wide receivers in the NFL. He's a talented player and helps you hone your skills and become better when you go against one of the best."
Jackson's teammates also are happy to have him back. Linebacker Gary Brackett said the cornerback is one of the most professional players on the team.
"I'm a guy who gets up early and goes to the (Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center), but Marlin always beats me there," Brackett said. "He's just a guy who is going to work at it. He practices his craft and really gives it his all."
"When you see him out on the field, that's a finished product."
But Jackson is not quite finished in terms of his preparation for the 2009 season. The cornerback said he would sit out the team's first preseason game this Friday against the Minnesota Vikings.
"I'm just going to practice and get everything down first," he said.
It should not be too hard for Jackson to wait a little bit longer.
After all, now he has patience.