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Broncos safety Kareem Jackson looks up at the scoreboard during a game at Empower Field at Mile High on Dec. 19, 2020. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

ENGLEWOOD — Broncos coach Vic Fangio didn't know if his starting safety was going to be back in 2021. 

The 33-year-old veteran, Kareem Jackson, had his option declined by the team this offseason, leaving many to believe his time in Denver was over after two seasons. 

“I was confident, but ultimately, it was going to be up to him," Fangio said Saturday during Broncos training camp. "I don’t know the right answer there. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out.”

But after weighing his free agency options, Jackson returned on a one-year, $5 million deal. To him, coming back was always something he wanted to do. 

"I think we have a great group of guys here, coaching staff obviously, and this particular scheme that I'm able to play in here," Jackson said. "For me it was key to be in a great scheme, so just coming back here where I'm comfortable, been here the last two years. Not only that, I didn't want to move. Moving's a headache. Picking up and going to another city, that's not something I was ready to do. It's a great group of guys here.

"I think we've got a lot of talent on this team, and we've got a lot of pieces in the right places to play some good ball and to get in the playoffs, and to make some noise this year."

Jackson will prove to be a valuable piece in the Broncos' secondary in 2021, entering his 12th season in the league and being one of the oldest players on the team. His experience has stood out during camp, taking rookies under his wing and intercepting two passes in Saturday's practice. 

If anything, Jackson has shown the past four days he has a lot left in the tank. And they're going to need him to continue to play that way if the Broncos want to have one of the best secondaries in the league, like many have predicted them to be. 

"Still feeling pretty young, although my age may not say it — when it comes to football years anyway," Jackson said. "I still feel pretty good. Body's feeling good, moving around really well. Just a matter of me just staying on top of my body, doing the right things when it comes to being out here on the field and my preparation daily. I still feel really good."

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