Just when the Buffalo Bills seemed to find their rhythm near the end of the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football, the excitement at Highmark Stadium came to an abrupt halt after cornerback Dane Jackson suffered a gruesome hit to the head.
Jackson, the Bills’ seventh-round pick from the 2020 NFL draft, collided with Bills Pro Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who was making a second-down tackle on Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks with just a minute left before halftime.
During the inadvertent hit, the 25-year-old’s neck snapped back in an awkward position before he was pushed aside by Titans running back Hassan Haskins.
Never seen an injured player get pushed aside by the other team. Dirty. #MNF #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/TTc2YvPWnj
— David Riedman (@david_riedman) September 20, 2022
Scary injury for #Bills player Dane Jackson
— Michael Balko (@MichaelBalkoJr) September 20, 2022
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An ambulance made its way onto the field in Orchard Park, immediately silencing the sold-out crowd in attendance for the Bills’ home opener on September 19. The game was paused for nearly 10 minutes while the third-year player was put on a backboard and loaded into an ambulance.
The entire #Bills team is on the field for Dane Jackson, whose head and neck were bent back in an awkward, violent collision with a teammate. pic.twitter.com/9bLC696IHr
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 20, 2022
ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg tweeted, “Wishing all the best for Dane Jackson, who is now in the ambulance. Tremaine Edmunds has remained nearby him almost the entire time.”
Jackson, who bounced between the practice squad and the active roster over the past two seasons, became a permanent part of the starting lineup after Pro Bowler Tre’Davious White suffered a season-ending injury last year.
WGR 550 reporter Sal Capaccio shared some good news after Jackson was carted off the field. Capaccio tweeted that “Jackson is being evaluated for a neck injury at ECMC hospital in Buffalo. He will have X-rays and a CT scan. He has full movement in his extremities.”
On Tuesday, the team received even more good news and put out a statement that revealed Jackson “underwent various tests which determined there was no major injury to his neck or spinal cord. H was released from the hospital and is undergoing further evaluation today.”
An update on Dane Jackson. ❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/JL1oVrMI4o
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) September 20, 2022
Jackson, who was limited in practice this week due to a sore knee, was excited to get back on the field this week for Monday Night Football. Jackson, who missed practice on Thursday and Friday, told WGRZ on Saturday, “I feel good, being our there today and getting to move around, it felt good being out there.”
Short and sweet from Dane Jackson after practice today.
Came down wrong during Wednesday’s practice and tweaked knee.
As for playing Monday night: “Oh for sure. For sure.”#Bills pic.twitter.com/vqrUTSH3bX
— Jon Scott (@JonScottTV) September 17, 2022
Head coach Sean McDermott offered the cornerback high praise heading into the primetime matchup. “He is a very conscience young man, he is a pro in the way he prepares he is as tough as they are out there, if he goes he will be ready to go,” McDermott told WGRZ.
Following Jackson’s injury, Syracuse.com’s Matt Parrino tweeted, “Hard to think about football. We spent some time with Dane Jackson on Saturday after he returned to practice. He’s a joy to be around. His smile lights up the room. Really hope he’s OK.”
During the postgame press conference, despite the Bills crushing the Titans 41-7, McDermott was in a somber mood. “You go from being a coach to just being a human when I’m out there watching him getting loaded into the ambulance,” he said. “That’s a real moment. Just praying for him. It’s an unfortunate situation.”
They’ve brought the ambulance out for Dane Jackson. It’s pin-drop quiet inside Highmark. #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/B6DgcDgJTf
— Rachel Lenzi 💁🏻♀️😎 (@rachelmlenzi) September 20, 2022
Twitter immediately filled with prayers and well-wishes for Jackson and Edmunds after the former was transported off the field. USA Today’s Jason Wolf tweeted, “As terrible as I feel for Dane Jackson, I’m also sick for Tremaine Edmunds. Imagine accidentally putting your teammate in the hospital & having to focus on playing the rest of this game.”
WGRZ reporter Julianne Pelusi wrote, “The rest of the night is about more than football. Really hoping Dane is ok. What an awful and terrifying situation.”
Love this Bills fan praying for Dane Jackson.
Pray for Dane Jackson 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/GadNFHcYlN
— Steve Franklin (@MyGuySteve) September 20, 2022
WGR 550 reporter Nate Geary tweeted, “Scary stuff here. Really hope Dane Jackson is OK.”
Without Jackson, the Bills will need to rely on both rookie cornerbacks, Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford, to really step up on Monday Night Football.
The Bills’ defensive line has been taking a lot of hits lately. With both Ed Oliver (ankle) and Tim Settle (calf) inactive for the Bills game against the Titans, Buffalo elevated defensive tackles Brandin Bryant and C.J. Brewer.