IRVINE, Calif. – Alaric Jackson was one of multiple Rams offensive linemen whose 2022 season was cut short due to injury.
After missing Week 12 against the Cardinals, he was shut down for the rest of the season due to blood clots and placed on blood thinners.
Fast forward to this year's Rams Training Camp presented by UNIFY Financial Credit Union, a healthy Jackson has a new perspective and a chance to re-enter the starting lineup once again.
"I'm just blessed, bro, honestly," Jackson told theRams.com this week. "I didn't know how much I loved football until I couldn't play anymore. It really sucked, honestly. But just being here now, just getting the chance to start now, the opportunity I'm getting, I'm just happy as hell to be out here."
Prior to the blood clots, Jackson played in eight games last season, starting in six of them – four at right guard after Tremayne Anchrum Jr. got injured, then two at left tackle after Joe Noteboom got injured. While Jackson did well at both, starting left tackle is the spot he is currently competing with Noteboom for.
Jackson is taking full advantage of being healthy, too, being the first on the training camp practice field at UC Irvine and also putting in time in the weight room immediately after practice.
"It's amazing, because how these things go, you're usually kind of set where you're at contract-wise in a sense, but they made it clear that open and up for grabs," Jackson said. "I'm loving the chances for me and Joe to compete at the LT1 spot. And that's also my guy, so I want him to do well as well."
Health-wise, Jackson said he feels "amazing." With last season behind him, he can approach training camp with a clear mind.
"Just being around the guys, the weight room, the football aspect, not having worries in my head about blood clots or anything else, just going out there and playing freely is my whole main thing right now," Jackson said. "I'm really enjoying it."