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"I can't do anything else but smile" | Dane Jackson 'feels good' after first practice back with the team 

Dane Jackson (30). Buffalo Bills Week 4 practice, September 28, 2022 at One Bills Drive.
Dane Jackson (30). Buffalo Bills Week 4 practice, September 28, 2022 at One Bills Drive.

Just nine days ago, Bills cornerback Dane Jackson was transported to the hospital after suffering what was ruled to be a neck injury during the Bills' Monday Night Football game against the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. On Wednesday afternoon, Jackson returned to practice in limited capacity for the first time since being sidelined with his injury.

Jackson has worked hard toward landing a starting role on the Bills roster throughout the last few years, but returning to that position wasn't the main concern on his mind after the scary collision.

"I was just really worried about my future at that point and not really worried about anything football-related," Jackson said. "I was worried about my son at home, my mom. I know everybody was crying. My girl was right next to me, so it was an emotional roller coaster."

That emotional roller coaster started to level out once Jackson started to get answers. During the evaluation process of the injury, Jackson shared that he received MRIs and CT scans which showed nothing structural was wrong, and he's just been dealing with lingering soreness from the hit.

"Everything checked out with the pictures & everything," Jackson said. "So, waiting for all the soreness to go away and I'll be back to 100%."

The cornerback shared that the play itself along with not being able to move on the ride to the hospital was pretty scary, but the scariest part of his injury was the unknown. Once he got word that everything looked good, Jackson felt a sense of relief after dealing with a lot of emotions running through his mind.

"I'm here, I'm alive, I'm standing," Jackson said. "Everybody's seen the hit. They know that it could've been a lot worse. So for me to be here, nothing structural, walking, back in the locker room with my teammates, it's just a blessing. I can't do nothing else but smile."

Smiling is exactly what Jackson did today when he returned to practice with his teammates for the first time since suffering the injury.

"It means a lot just to be back out there with the guys and get moving around," Jackson said. "I felt like I've been out for like a month or something. It felt good just being back out there."

Dane Jackson (30), Damar Hamlin (3). Buffalo Bills Week 4 practice, September 28, 2022 at One Bills Drive.

Safety Jaquan Johnson acknowledged how Jackson, who he shared is hard to replace on the field, looked like nothing ever happened to him after watching his teammate practice on Wednesday.

"It felt good for him to be back in his natural habitat, flying around with the guys, just communicating," Johnson said. "I've seen a smile on his face."

Even when Jackson was unable to participate in different portions of practice, he was still around the facility and on the field with his teammates. While it was tough for the third-year CB not to be physically practicing the entire day, he shared that he would be there for his teammates regardless of the situation.

"If I'm still in the hospital, I'm going to try and be here for my teammates," Jackson said.

With the seriousness of the situation, it was refreshing for WR Stefon Diggs and LB Von Miller to see Jackson at the facility the day after the injury and the days leading up to his return to practice.

"It wasn't too much of a surprise as far as going on the field, but I was more happy to see him when I did see him in the building, going to breakfast, checking on him," Diggs said. "It was more refreshing than it was on the football field."

"It's just a true blessing that he was able to come out all right and he's here at practice," Miller added. "He's got some angels over for him sure."

Watching the Bills secondary suffer more injuries since his own made Jackson want to be out on the field even more. But the cornerback gave a shoutout 'to the young guys who came in and did their thing.'

"It was tough because everything checked out structurally," Jackson said, "So in my mind, I wanted to play. But my body said, you sore and sit down."

Now looking ahead to when Jackson will be ready to suit up for a game, the team is taking it day-by-day.

"Usually what happens is you ramp them up a little bit today like we're going to do with Dane, and then see how he is when he comes back in tomorrow and then assess and then try to ramp him even further in the next day," head coach Sean McDermott said. "That's usually the progression if you will, and hopefully that's the case with Dane."

McDermott, along with other Bills coaches, teammates, and Bills Mafia were all worried about Jackson's health and safety as soon as the injury occurred. And No. 30 is certainly appreciative of the outpouring of support and love he's received since.

"It was crazy, the amount of support that I received," Jackson said. "Shoutout to everybody that supported me and reached out. I got letters to my house, edible arrangements to my door. I really truly appreciate that from the heart."

The Bills held their first practice of the week in preparation for Sunday's game in Baltimore against the Ravens. This gallery is presented by On Location.

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