FOXBORO, Mass. — Multiple Patriots defensive backs expressed their support Wednesday for teammate J.C. Jackson.

New England on Tuesday placed Jackson on the reserve/non-football illness list, likely ruling him out for the final three games of the season. The veteran cornerback, who was active for Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs but did not play, is dealing with mental health issues, his agent told ESPN.

“It’s been tough,” slot corner Myles Bryant said. “We all wish J.C. the best. We’re praying for him, and we hope he’s able to take care of his situation.”

The specifics of Jackson’s situation were unclear as of Wednesday afternoon. Head coach Bill Belichick would not comment on the matter beyond saying the 28-year-old was “not available” against the Chiefs. Rookie Alex Austin started in his place and played every defensive snap in a 27-17 defeat at Gillette Stadium.

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Jackson spent his first four NFL seasons with the Patriots, then was traded back to New England in October after a disastrous 1 1/2-year stint with the Los Angeles Chargers. He struggled on the field upon his return and was suspended for the Patriots’ trip to Germany last month after missing curfew at the team hotel.

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Jackson publicly apologized for that transgression and went on to start three consecutive games before Sunday’s surprise DNP.

Safety Jalen Mills, who started opposite Jackson at outside cornerback in 2021, said fans need to recognize that professional athletes deal with personal struggles just like anyone else.

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“J.C., that’s my dog, man,” Mills said. “My first year here, it was me and him on the outside. So I’ve always kept in contact with him, just call him, check in on him, see how he’s doing. People kind of fail to realize that we are athletes and we do get paid a lot of money, but we’re humans just like everybody else. We go through things like everybody else.

“I don’t know the exact extent of it, of what’s going on, but he is human, and we go through things.”

Special teams captain Matthew Slater also preached empathy for Jackson earlier in the week, saying the Patriots “want to see him be healthy both physically and mentally.”

The Patriots likely will roll with a cornerback group of Jonathan Jones, Bryant, Austin and Shaun Wade for the rest of the 2023 season. They also have Breon Borders, Azizi Hearn and the newly re-signed William Hooper on their practice squad.

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New England is scheduled to visit the Denver Broncos this Sunday night.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images