Tristan Jackson probably won’t be heading into the Plaza of Honour, but that doesn’t mean he won’t or shouldn’t be remembered in Saskatchewan.
Jackson officially ended his CFL career by signing a one day contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the place where he ended up playing the bulk of his 10 year career. So, a fitting end.
Jackson’s career in Riderville really had two different parts, at first he was a returner, and a darn good one at that. The clip of his 129 yard touchdown missed field goal return against the Lions has been making the rounds on social media following his retirement. Those plays stand out for obvious reasons.
For me though, I will remember Jackson’s 2014 season in Saskatchewan. He came back to the Green and White after being released. Jackson had gone back to work in the oil field like he often did when he wasn’t playing football.
The Riders reached out to Jackson, who they were obviously familiar with and Jackson returned when they needed some help. Jackson came back and probably took a pay cut to continue playing the game he loves.
Jackson, who was known for his electrifying returns, morphed into a vital part of the Riders defence following some injuries in the secondary. Jackson eventually got so good at corner, that he eventually stopped returning kicks as well. His defensive play had become too valuable.
Jackson picked up 47 tackles and four interceptions that year. It was incredible to watch. It wasn’t a great year for the Riders after Darian Durant’s arm injury effectively ended their season, but Jackson stood out.
Jackson would get nominated as the team’s most outstanding special teams player that year, but you probably could have made a case for him as the team’s most outstanding defensive player as well. I actually had a vote that year and while I don’t remember who I ended up voting for, Jackson was certainly worthy of consideration. That continued into the 2015 season as Jackson remained a bright spot for a bad team.
Despite the revival of a career that was so close to coming to an end, Jackson played the best football of his career and remained the same guy he always was. Always as humble as ever, answering every question with a “yes, sir” and doing so with a smile. The answers weren’t the most enthralling but it didn’t matter, Jackson’s play in 2014 spoke for itself and it bought him a couple of more seasons in the CFL. He made the most of another chance to play the game he loves.
While there’s no cheering in the press box, reporters will admit that we cheer for stories. That period of Jackson was a great story, and as an even better person, it was an easy story to cheer for.