Eagles sign former Colts starting CB Jackson
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PHILADELPHIA (AP)Marlin Jackson's surgically repaired knees didn't scare off the Philadelphia Eagles.
Still looking to replace Brian Dawkins, the Eagles are taking a chance on Jackson. They signed the free agent defensive back to a two-year contract on Wednesday.
A 2005 first-round draft pick by the Indianapolis Colts, Jackson is coming off a pair of season-ending knee injuries. He missed the second half of 2008 with a torn ACL in his right knee and returned in 2009 before tearing the ACL in his left knee in a November practice.
Jackson has played cornerback most of his career, but will get a chance to win the starting spot at free safety in Philadelphia.
"Nothing is promised," Jackson said. "I have to earn it. I played free safety my junior year at college and started eight games there my second year in the NFL. I'm very comfortable in it. I always played a physical corner. Physicality is nothing new to me. I'm very instinctive and aggressive. I can bring a lot of positives."
Since letting Dawkins, a potential Hall of Famer, leave for Denver in free agency last year, the Eagles had issues at free safety. They tried second-year pro Quintin Demps, rookie Victor Harris and veteran Sean Jones at that position in 2009.
The 6-foot, 196-pound Jackson has 306 tackles and four interceptions in 56 career games with the Colts. He visited Baltimore before coming to Philly and was scheduled to meet with the New York Jets.
"The most appealing thing is this is a winning franchise," Jackson said. "That's important to me. I came from a winning franchise. The opportunity to play free safety is very appealing. This defense is very aggressive."
Jackson joins a secondary that includes Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel, Pro Bowl strong safety Quintin Mikell and longtime starting cornerback Sheldon Brown.
Despite the knee injury, Jackson expects to be ready for the season. The Eagles already have middle linebacker Stewart Bradley and tight end Cornelius Ingram returning from ACL surgeries. They gave free-agent offensive lineman Stacy Andrews a big contract last year after he had ACL surgery, but he couldn't crack the starting lineup.
"I'm a positive person and I know how hard I work each and every day," Jackson said. "I know what it takes to come back from an ACL. I've done it once already."