Focus on: Tarvaris Jackson

Posted Dec 11, 2013

As painful as his last trip to MetLife Stadium was for a 2011 game against the Giants, the way Tarvaris Jackson handled himself the rest of that season has endured him to his teammates as the Seahawks prepare for this week’s game against the Giants.

The last time the Seahawks played the New York Giants, Tarvaris Jackson was their starting quarterback. But he didn’t finish the game.

That was in Week 5 of the 2011 season, during Jackson’s first stint with the Seahawks and the year before Russell Wilson was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft. Jackson damaged the pectoral in his throwing shoulder while running for an 11-yard gain on the Seahawks’ fourth play of the third quarter.

Jackson would not play the rest of that game, or in the post-bye week game against the Browns in Cleveland. But he did return to play the remainder of the season, and earn the respect and admiration of his teammates.

“It was a heroic, stellar performance by a guy,” coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday, when his fourth edition of the Seahawks began practicing for Sunday’s game against the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

“I mean, he was hurt. Half of his pec was torn, on his throwing side. You just can’t do that. He couldn’t throw during the week. He’d throw five or six balls and then he’d go out and play. Everybody knew that. He never said anything about it and he gave us a chance to win. He totally won everybody over.”

Wilson’s ascension to the starting role last year, and the addition of Matt Flynn in free agency, led to Jackson being traded to the Buffalo Bills last August. But after not playing a snap for the Bills last season, Jackson was released in June and re-signed with the Seahawks.

He’s now Wilson’s backup, having thrown 11 passes during the Seahawks’ 11-2 start. But his profile in courage from that first stint with the team takes a backseat to no one.

“Whether it’s been injuries or just situations, he’s shown great toughness physically and he’s shown great toughness mentally,” said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who also coached Jackson when both were with the Minnesota Vikings. “He’s really been through a lot in his career – whether it’s not playing and then he’s starting; then he’s on the bench; then he’s back in again; then he’s injured.

“He’s gone through a lot and he’s handled it like a pro every single time. I’ve never seen him flinch. I’ve just seen him handle it exactly the way that you want a guy to.”

With the Vikings, Jackson was the starter in 2007 and for the final three games in 2008, only to take a seat when Brett Favre was signed in 2009. Then came his season of pain as the starter with the Seahawks, and that was followed by the season on the sideline with the Bills.

“He’s respected as a teammate in the locker room, because of how he played, what he played through, what he did for the team,” Bevell said. “And then who is he and how he handled himself in all those types of situations.”

As Carroll put it, “We’re lucky to have him.”