Jackson Jeffcoat happy to be back in Winnipeg but won’t play recruiter for Blue Bombers

Photo: Nik Kowalski/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Veteran defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat re-signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday, though he didn’t initially plan to be back with team in 2022.

“I actually thought I was going to go to free agency, but after about a week of negotiations we came to a good agreement and I felt like Winnipeg showed that they really cared about me and wanted me to be in Winnipeg and I think that’s more important than any amount of money that I could get if I went to free agency and went to another team,” said Jeffcoat.

The 31-year-old has been a mainstay on Winnipeg’s defensive line since 2017, making 106 tackles, 26 sacks, and nine forced fumbles in 52 career games. He was named a CFL all-star for the first time this past season after recording a career-high nine sacks and four forced fumbles in just 12 games en route to a Grey Cup title.

“It’s hard to put into words how great of a place Winnipeg is,” said Jeffcoat. “It’s just special — from the fans, from the organization — just how people are willing to help. The culture with the team, the guys love each other. We work hard, we always hold each other accountable, we’re always trying to be better. We leave our egos at the door.”

Jeffcoat wasn’t Winnipeg’s only key re-signing from this past week as right tackle Jermarcus Hardrick, defensive end Willie Jefferson, and defensive tackle Jake Thomas also inked new deals. Though Hardrick is helping recruit some the club’s pending free agents, Jeffcoat doesn’t plan on doing the same.

“I’ll talk to these guys, but I want the guys to do what’s best for them, to be honest. I just want to make sure that everyone does the best for them,” said Jeffcoat. “Obviously, I love guys that come back, but if it’s not the best situation for them, why would I selfishly want that from somebody? I feel like when it’s all said and done, we’ll have a group of guys that will be able to compete the way we want to compete.”

Photo: Nik Kowalski/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

One of Winnipeg’s key pending free agents is defensive tackle Steven ‘Stove’ Richardson, who is the only incumbent starter along the defensive line who isn’t under contract for 2022. Jeffcoat remains in close contact with his teammate, though he won’t push for him to re-sign with Winnipeg if a better opportunity arises elsewhere.

“I’m always talking to my guy Stove. We talked about the off-season, we talked about what he plans to do. I don’t want to get into his negotiations unless he wants to talk to you about it, but he knows that we want him back. He knows that we love him. He knows that we’ve had fun with him, so we’ll just see what he decides,” said Jeffcoat.

“Shoot, I’m happy for him and proud of him regardless of what he does. It doesn’t matter to me, I just want him to be happy.”

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.