Carolina Panthers CB Donte Jackson's journey
It's been a long road back for Donte Jackson. Suffering a torn Achilles midway through the previous campaign was a body blow for the player and the Carolina Panthers, who didn't have sufficient depth within the cornerback room to cope with such a pivotal loss when push came to shove.
Jackson's worked tirelessly to get back in football shape throughout the offseason. The Panthers are still taking things easy with the former second-round selection, but all signs point to the defensive back suiting up without restrictions for their opening Sunday clash versus the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1.
When discussing how tough it's been to rehabilitate such a complex injury, Jack stated via Sports Illustrated that it was the mental side of things that was tougher than anything physical he's dealt with so far.
"The hardest part is getting your mental back. The hardest part for me was getting out of that dark hole and just gaining my confidence back and just knowing I'll be able to follow guys as number ones again and just play meaningful reps. I did a lot of straight-line sprinting just to be able to go and put my feet in the ground. Not too many backpedal breaks or change of direction. I wanted to wait until I got to camp to get real reps at it. I kind of had a breakthrough just the other day after doing one move and I'm just like, yeah, I feel good. Like I said, it's a blessing because I spent a lot of the process, a lot of those nine months off beating myself up thinking, man, I'll never be the same. I'll never be able to do this, I'll never be able to do that."- Donte Jackson via Sports Illustrated
Hopefully, this will be the end of Jackson's complications on the health front. The Panthers need their most experienced cornerback fit and firing next season - especially considering the concerns surrounding others on the depth chart heading into the campaign.