As I sat down to write this investigative piece, a yellow hummingbird rested outside my window and began pecking away.
Tap, tap tap…
Every time I moved the keys…
Tap, tap tap…
The bird looked in at me. I stopped to acknowledge it only to see a serious look on its face. Perhaps this was a sign that someone, somewhere didn’t want me to uncover what I was about to come across.
Should I stop? No, the truth is too important.
How old is Eddie Jackson?
It’s a simple enough question, right?
Google tells you Jackson is 26 years old. The best and most accurate database in the history of the world, Pro-Football-Reference, says the same. So does the NFL’s official website.
Case closed, right?
Wrong. Jackson is 25 years old.
I started down this path innocently enough. NFL on ESPN tweeted four teams with five players who are 25 years old or younger. Seeing draft classmates Tarik Cohen and Mitch Trubisky on the list made me wonder about Eddie Jackson. Surely, he had to be the same age, right? So I looked on the Chicago Bears official website and there it was. Eddie Jackson, 25 years old.
That prompted me to Tweet about it.
Why wouldn’t they have Eddie Jackson on this for the #Bears? https://t.co/aE4sBiOWJD
— Andrew Dannehy (@adannehy) July 10, 2019
And that’s when it started to get crazy. The responses started coming in, telling me that Jackson was 26 years old, not 25. So I decided to look it up. Sure enough, I saw all the same websites saying he was 26.
Do the Bears just not update their website during the off-season? No. Roquan Smith and others had been updated. Perhaps Jackson was just forgotten?
That had me digging deeper. The Chicago Tribune had a story saying Dec. 10, 2017 was Jackson’s 24th birthday. An Alabama website said the same thing. That would mean he’s currently 25.
Then, I got to thinking about one of the better stories of this off-season. The one about how Jackson recruited HaHa Clinton-Dix to the Bears after HHCD recruited Jackson to Alabama. But, if you believe Google, PRF and NFL.com, you’ll be told Jackson is, in fact, older than HHCD.
It was officially time for a deep dive.
The Answer Lies with Riley’s Brother.
As one Twitter follower pointed out to me, it’s entirely possible that Jackson is as old as he’s listed.
Like Jackson, Calvin Ridley (better known as the brother to Bears wide receiver Riley Ridley) was born in December and like Jackson, he’s a bit old for his class. Ridley turned 20 on Dec. 20, 2014 when he was a senior in high school. If Jackson were as old as some sites report him to be, he also would’ve turned 20 when he was a high school senior, which means he would’ve only been allowed to play two games.
But that didn’t happen.
Ridley had to miss all but three games his senior year simply because he was too old. According to Florida high school rules at the time, players could only play until they were 19 years and nine months old. For Ridley, that happened after the third game of his senior season, but Jackson played his entire senior year, catching 12 touchdown passes as a receiver and hauling in five interceptions as a defensive back.
It was his senior season that got Jackson recruited in the first place because he missed his entire junior year due to academics.
After all closing my investigation, I came across a Tweet that appeared to have the clear answer.
This was posted on his birthday last year. I think he would know of all people 🤣 pic.twitter.com/Lb1EGfft4m
— Chris Bocker (@cbocker32) July 10, 2019
There you have it, Jackson himself says he’s 25, who would know better?