FOXBORO, Mass. — Credit J.C. Jackson for his blunt honesty.
Jackson hauled in his ninth interception of the season during Sunday’s 28-14 win over the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. Add in his two fumble recoveries, and that’s 11 total takeaways, the most any New England Patriots defender has recorded in a single season under Bill Belichick.
A pretty cool accomplishment, right? Not to Jackson.
“It don’t mean (expletive),” the Patriots cornerback said in his postgame video conference. “That don’t mean nothing to me. It don’t mean (expletive) to me, to be honest with you.”
Regardless, Jackson was phenomenally disruptive in the Patriots’ secondary this season. His nine interceptions ranked second in the NFL behind Miami’s Xavien Howard (10) and tied the third-best single-season mark in Patriots history, trailing only Ron Hall (11 in 1964) and Asante Samuel (10 in 2006). Ty Law also tallied nine in 1998.
Jackson’s 11 total takeaways ranked second in franchise history. Hall holds the single-season record with 13 (11 INTs, two fumble recoveries) in 1964.
“Like I always say, I just see the ball and make plays on the ball,” Jackson said. “I’m a ball hawk. That’s what I get paid to do. The ninth pick of the season, I feel like I could have had more than that. But that’s a hell of a season, to have nine picks. I’ve just got to continue to grow and get better for the 2021 season.”
Whether Jackson suits up for the Patriots next season remains to be seen. He’s set to become a restricted free agent once the new league year begins in March.
The Patriots can choose to place a first- or second-round RFA tender on Jackson, meaning they’d receive that corresponding draft pick if another team signs him to an offer sheet and New England declines to match.
“I let my agent handle that,” Jackson said. “I just keep doing what I do, keep grinding, get ready for the season. That’s not in my control.”
Jackson’s final interception of the season helped turn the tide in the Patriots’ season finale. New England scored on each of its next two drives to turn a tie game in the fourth quarter into a comfortable Week 17 victory.
?It means a lot to me and my teammates,” Jackson said. “The guys we have in this building, the character of the men we have, we just kept fighting. Not only today, but all season long. We kept fighting. It was a rough season, rough year, but the men in the locker room, our captains, they showed great character and they led us all year and they led us today and we came out with a win.?