You've undoubtedly heard the news by now. Starting safety Tanard Jackson has been suspended by the NFL for a year due to violation of the substance abuse policy/program. There is a never a good time for this, but with a hot start, some excitement around the team, and a good team coming to Tampa, this comes at a bad time for the Bucs. Jackson will be suspended for all of the 2010 season and part of the 2011 season, as he can apply to be reinstated exactly a year from today. That looks like Week 3 of the 2011 season although he can apply 60 days prior to the full year.
This shouldn't come as a huge surprise, although none of this was expected. Jackson was suspended for 4 games last year for the same thing. Our secondary obviously missed him as the Bucs secondary was destroyed the first couple of games. At that time, T-Jack made a statement concerning the situation. Here are some quotes, from the original TBO story.
I'm definitely disappointed in myself, I let my team down, obviously, and I've let a lot of people down. The fans - I'd like to apologize to them for the decisions I've made that got me into this situation. It wasn't a shock (being suspended), because I knew the situation I was in, I just didn't know when something like this would happen or if it would happen. Oh yeah, I definitely have some off-the-field issues that I have to address for the well being of myself and for the well being of this football team
I'm gonna go ahead and make a leap of faith and say he didn't make those changes. Call it a youthful mistake, call it being a kid, call it a one time slip up, and maybe in 2009 you would've been right. The 2010 version of this story will yield none of those excuses. This was a mistake that hurts himself and the team. This reflects poorly on the organization and will lead people to say Morris can't handle his players. I don't know if any of that is true, nor am I saying that is the correct view, but it's obvious this is a problem.
The team needs to intervene and get Jackson some guidance. The football consequences are bad enough, we don't this to turn into a larger issue.
With this suspension, Jackson is one strike away from a lifetime ban. If that doesn't weigh heavy on him, I don't know what will. As a mid-round pick his contract is not sizable in football terms. He has one year left, which will be extended to 2011. He needs to get his act together and help the team, assuming the team stands by him.
On my personal soapbox, I am utterly disappointed. Jackson had his chance, he screwed up in 2009. This just shows the selfishness and lack of regard for the team. He knew he was on heightened supervision and elected to continue down this path. Those words above, his quote, ring hollow right now. A completely selfish act on his behalf. I'm disgusted, not so much by his actions, but the effect this will have on the team.
In his place, well, we have limited options. You may see Grimm, it may be Sabby. Either way, it won't be T-Jack. He'll be sitting on the couch for the next 12 months on Sundays. We wish him the best personally and hope that he can resolve whatever issues he might have. But as for the team, they will soldier on without one of their most dynamic playmakers.
This is strike 2 Tanard. Get it together. You've got a lot to prove to the fans and the team at this point.