Should your top CB also return punts? It cost Adoree' Jackson an MCL sprain, but he has no regrets

Adoree' Jackson, the New York Giants' No. 1 cornerback, sprained his MCL in Week 11 returning a punt in a loss to the Detroit Lions.

The injury will keep him out for several weeks. Jackson, though, has no regrets.

“Yeah that unfortunate event, that happened. But at the end of the day, I'm a competitor. I felt like I know when I get the ball in my hands, I can make something special happen," said Jackson, who spoke with Yahoo Sports on behalf of his new package insurance business "PorchPals," established with longtime friend James Moore and KME endeavors.

"I just try to be positive about the situation and understand I can only control what I control."

The youngest of three siblings, Jackson said he's been a problem solver by nature since he was a kid, finding "other avenues" to keep up with his sister and brother, whether in sports or other aspects of life.

"Growing up, I've always been trying to solve problems. I wasn't the biggest or the fastest hanging out with them, I was just trying to find other avenues to get it done," Jackson told Yahoo Sports.

He went on to hone an elite speed that made him a weapon on University of Southern California's track team and likely played a role in Giants coach Brian Daboll utilizing him to return.

Using defensive backs as punt returners has actually been somewhat of a buzzy topic in recent weeks. Denver Broncos special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes went viral on Nov. 17 in explaining why star cornerback Patrick Surtain II wouldn't be used to help jolt the Broncos' struggling return game back to life.

There were two main reasons: injury risk and lack of reps. Jackson unfortunately fell victim to the injury risk aspect. That said, he's also been returning punts for years now.

Jackson returned kicks and punts at USC in addition to defensive back and wide receiver duties. He recalled watching legendary returners Reggie Bush and Devin Hester instill the interest in him early.

“So when I got the opportunity, there was no second guessing or anything. It was like yeah, let's make it happen,” he told Yahoo Sports.

“If I could go back and do it all over again, I’d still do the same thing.”

Giants cornerback and kick returner Adoree' Jackson agrees with the NFLPA's fight for more natural grass on fields. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
Giants cornerback and kick returner Adoree' Jackson agrees with the NFLPA's fight for more natural grass on fields. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

Jackson has also supported the NFL Players Association's fight for natural grass in NFL stadiums. Though the field itself didn't contribute to his injury, which came when his knee was caught between two Lions tacklers, MetLife Stadium's turf is infamous among players.

“Obviously I was fortunate enough in California to always be on grass," he told Yahoo Sports. “I look at the injuries, doing something you do on the regular, you might tweak something. We should get grass with all the money that we make for these organizations."

In the same game Jackson sprained his MCL, teammate Wan'Dale Robinson tore his ACL on the slit film turf at MetLife. He was the second Giants wide receiver lost for this season to a torn ACL on their home field, with Sterling Shephard suffering the injury on a non-contact play in late September.

Jackson supports teammate Julian Love, the Giants' NFLPA rep who's been vocal about the need for better field conditions as well.

“You still gotta battle with all the higher ups that might not agree with what we believe as athletes," Jackson told Yahoo Sports. “I would be honored (to take on the fight), but I don’t think that’s my thing.”

Not this one, at least. Jackson's new avenue is "PorchPals," an idea that came after a pair of Retro Air Jordans for his father's Christmas gift were stolen from his doorstep. He hopes the endeavor sends a broader message.

He remembers being made fun of for the Nike Land Shark cleats he wore in high school. He wants rising athletes to know that there's more. “I felt like I was gonna bust you up with whatever I had on, but I'm really just trying to help the young'ns, you know. Growing up, I really didn't always have the correct means or the exposure to a lot of things” Jackson told Yahoo Sports.

"Over time you dedicate your whole life to this. So just trying to have that other avenue, not just for myself, but for other athletes as well who want to be able to do something, start something and know that they can do it while they’re playing."