BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – D’Qwell Jackson made it no secret that he wanted to remain with the Browns and Monday he got his wish.
The team announced that they signed Jackson, who was to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, to a multi-year contract.
Jackson was brought to tears at the end of the press conference out of gratitude for the new five year, $42.5 million deal. The contract includes $19 million guaranteed.
“Signing this extension was a number one priority for us as an organization this offseason,” president Mike Holmgren said. “There’s not a finer guy on our team. You all know what a great player he is. I’m very excited about this.”
Jackson returned from two separate pectoral injuries that cost him 26 games over two seasons to start all 16 games last season for the Browns.
“When you’ve been broken down like I have, you build yourself back up,” Jackson said. “When I was building myself back up, hey, I was just wishing for an opportunity and I can’t thank this man enough (points at Mike Holmgren). Just for the opportunity.
“It’s definitely a blessing, thank you.”
He finished first in the AFC and second in the NFL with 158 tackles. Jackson also set a career-high with 3.5 sacks to go along with one interception, one forced fumble and three passes defensed.
“This is a blessing,” Jackson said. “When coach Holmgren and his staff gave me an opportunity to come back and play that’s all I needed. I just wanted an opportunity and now I sit here.
“I’ve been through a lot and now I’m ready to lead this team into a post season.”
Jackson was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for September, voted as a first alternate middle linebacker for the AFC Pro Bowl squad, was honored as the club’s recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award and finished second in the voting for NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award behind Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.
“It’s not about me anymore,” Jackson said. “It was about me when I was injured. I don’t even like to talk about it. It’s not about me it’s about the guys that we have in the building. Can we move forward? Can we take steps forward? That should be everyone’s goal in the building, which I know it is and that’s it. Bottom line.”
Jackson, who was drafted by the Browns in the second round of the 2006 draft (34th overall), wanted to stay in Cleveland because of the team’s loyalty to him through his injuries.
The Browns were prepared to used the franchise tag to retain Jackson for 2012 and now have the ability to use it elsewhere. The top two candidates are kicker Phil Dawson and running back Peyton Hillis.
Now the Browns just need him to remain healthy.