Bucs' faith meaningful to Tanard Jackson
When the Bucs gave safety Tanard Jackson his contract extension last week, it was both a football decision and a personal decision.
It means the Bucs wanted to shore up their safety position for 2012, and how better to do that than by locking up a player who has started 56 games for them? But, for Jackson, the move meant more on a personal level because it sent a message.
Even though he only just returned from his second drug-related NFL suspension, the Bucs' willingness to do the deal demonstrated to Jackson they believe his vow to stay clean.
"It’s just more of what I’ve been saying all along: They just stayed by me and showed me they’re behind me through everything I’ve been through," Jackson said. "I’ll tell you, words can’t describe how I felt when they came to me and offered me another year despite going through what I’ve been through. It’s really a blessing to be a part of this organization."
Jackson was suspended for 56 weeks before his reinstatement last month. He already has two interceptions despite having been back in the lineup for just two games.
General manager Mark Dominik, speaking mostly from a football standpoint, said it was a deal that felt right.
"It made sense to his agent (and) it made sense to us to get another year on his deal," Dominik said. "I would say that he’s a guy that we would like to have around here. In the making of a deal, there are a lot of different things that go into it, but we feel like it was a deal that made sense to our organization. That’s the most important thing. And he’s a player who’s played well in the first two games back."
For Jackson, whose contract was set to expire after this season, the extension allows him to remain in a place he is fond of. That, he said, was as important as anything. Now, he hopes he can have a hand in the the Bucs reaching new heights.
"This is who drafted me," he said of the Bucs. "And it’s now a completely different team from when I got drafted, but I’m still here. That means a lot to me. This organization, the staff, the locker room, the teammates, it’s just great.
"We want to win championships around here. For me personally, I’m going to continue to do everything I can do to help this team win."