Bucs safety Jackson reinstated
Tampa Bay safety Tanard Jackson is back in the NFL after being suspended more than a year for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
The Buccaneers said Tuesday that the fifth-year pro has been placed on the exempt/commissioner's permission list, which means he can begin practicing immediately and coach Raheem Morris will have up to two weeks to activate him to the 53-man roster. The Bucs host New Orleans on Sunday, travel to London to face Chicago the following Sunday and then have a bye Oct. 30.
General manager Mark Dominik said there's no definitive timetable for getting Jackson back into the lineup.
''I'll leave that up to coach Morris and what he does on the practice field over the next four or five days, over the next basically two weeks to see what he can do,'' Dominik said. ''And the moment we feel like he's able to help this football team, he'll be on the field helping us prepare and win games.''
Jackson was a fourth round draft pick in 2007 and started 32 consecutive games to begin his career. He was suspended for the first four games of 2009 for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He was disciplined again for a minimum of a year two games into the 2010 season.
The safety, who has eight interceptions in 46 career games, became eligible for reinstatement on Sept. 22.
''I'm anxious, very excited. Just willing to do whatever it takes at this point to help this team,'' Jackson said, declining to elaborate on specifics of what he had to do while suspended to ensure his reinstatement.
''Without going into a lot of detail, I was in treatment,'' he added. ''I did a stint in treatment that I needed and was also required for reinstatement. I think that's all I can go into about that.''
When Jackson returned from his first suspension in October 2009, he apologized to teammates and talked about how difficult it was being away from the team and how much football meant to him.
This time, he spoke about moving forward and re-earning trust and being accountable ''to those who helped me through this.''
''It's not going to be something that's done overnight,'' Jackson said. ''It's not something that's going to be done in a year.''
The reinstatement comes two weeks after the Bucs lost second-year safety Cody Grimm for the season with a knee injury. Grimm became a starter as a rookie after Jackson's most recent suspension.
''Tanard has not played football in 56 weeks. He hasn't practiced very much also, in terms of real football drills, so it's an opportunity for him to get back out there and show that the muscle memory hasn't been lost and what he can do to help this football team,'' Dominik said.
Jackson said he is appreciative of the Bucs welcoming him back again.
''This organization has stood by me through a lot,'' the safety said. ''All I can say is I'm proud to have those guys in my corner.''