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    Chargers traded J.C. Jackson after he reportedly refused to play
    • October 12, 2023

    COSTA MESA — The Chargers repeatedly asked cornerback J.C. Jackson to play in their Week 4 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium, especially after teammate Michael Davis tweaked his ankle. But Jackson refused, according to an report earlier this week citing unnamed sources.

    Davis played all but one of 73 defensive snaps; Jackson played none.

    Jackson stood on the sideline with his shoes untied, declining to play because he said he wasn’t properly warmed up to enter the game. Jackson was active for the game, a 24-17 victory, after he was a surprise addition to the inactive list for the Chargers’ Week 3 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

    It was an act of defiance that last week led to the Chargers trading Jackson back to the New England Patriots, where he had established himself as one of the most dynamic defensive backs in the NFL over the first four seasons of his career. He had earned the nickname “Mr. INT.”

    With the Chargers, with whom he signed a mammoth five-year, $82.5 million free-agent contract with $40 million guaranteed in 2022, Jackson was “Mr. MIA,” as in missing in action. He played only seven games with the Chargers over one-plus seasons, intercepting only one pass.

    “We just felt like this was the best course for our team,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said Thursday of trading Jackson and a late-round draft pick in 2025 to the Patriots in exchange for a late-round pick in ‘25.  “There was a body of work to go off of. We felt like this direction was best for our football team.”

    Reminded of past comments about taking a patient approach with Jackson in the wake of a significant knee injury suffered while defending a touchdown pass during the Chargers’ loss Oct. 23, 2022 to the Seattle Seahawks, Staley said, “Like I said, there was a body of work to go off of, two years’ worth of a body of work.

    “We just felt like this was the best course for our team.”

    Asked specifically about the report that Jackson had refused to play while asked repeatedly by coaches to enter the Chargers’ victory over the Raiders on Oct. 1 at SoFi Stadium, Staley said, “I’m not talking any more about J.C. We’re moving forward as a team, and that’s behind us.”

    The Chargers were 0-2 with Jackson on the field this season and 2-0 without him. He sat out two games last season after undergoing minor ankle surgery just before the start of the regular season and then suffered a season-ending ruptured right patellar tendon while preparing to jump to defend a pass.

    By all accounts, Jackson was diligent in his rehabilitation work after undergoing surgery on his knee. He spent the offseason working out at the Chargers’ facility and attended springtime practices, although he wasn’t sound enough to participate fully with his teammates on the field.

    However, the report, citing unnamed sources, suggested that friction had developed between Jackson and the Chargers’ coaching, athletic training and support staffs. The article did not include specific examples, however, and Jackson was unavailable for comment Thursday.

    Jackson played roughly half of the Patriots’ defensive snaps in his return to New England this past Sunday, a 34-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The Chargers returned from their bye this week, content with Davis, Asante Samuel Jr., Ja’Sir Taylor, Alohi Gilman and Derwin James Jr. as their top defensive backs.

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    Gilman didn’t practice Thursday because of a heel injury, but fellow safety James was a full participant after sitting out against the Raiders because of an injured hamstring.

    “Things just didn’t work out how we needed them to work out, you know, for both sides,” James said of the Chargers’ decision to trade Jackson. “I just feel like it was best for both sides. Like I said, we wanted it to work out, but it just didn’t happen. That’s what happens in the NFL.”

    The Chargers play the Patriots on Dec. 3 at New England.

    ​ Orange County Register