Broncos safety Kareem Jackson watched from the sidelines during the last two games last season, while he was suspended by the NFL for violating his substance abuse policy and program.
On Tuesday, Jackson spoke to local reporters for drunk driving for the first time since his arrest in September. Jackson, who was taken over from the Texans via a free agency in 2019, expressed his regrets, calling the incident an “error” during a Zoom conference call.
“It was very disappointing,” said Jackson. “As a competitor, I am, and because it is a self-related issue, I feel I am disappointing the boys. It was good for me to keep going and get that done, leave it behind and move on. ‘
Jackson, 32, had played an integral role during his first season in coach Vic Fangio’s defense. Jackson played in 12 of 13 games (he missed losing the Jaguars with a hamstring injury) and had 71 tackles, two interceptions and a fumble for a touchdown. He started alongside Justin Simmons in safety alongside playing cornerback after injuries depleted the Broncos secondary from depth.
Another season in Fangio’s system, plus the free agent additions from cornerback A.J. Bouye and defensive lineman Jurrel Casey have sparked optimism for a big step forward in 2020. Jackson said defensive improvement will start with a better approach, but added, “For us, the sky is the limit.”
When it comes to playing games safely during the pandemic, however, Jackson is in no rush to return. He trains in a private gym in Houston between virtual team position meetings.
“There’s no point in playing games unless it’s 100% safe to go out,” said Jackson.