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Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson excited to be ‘home’ in his defense

Jackson played 36 snaps in his return.

New Orleans Saints v New England Patriots Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

There weren't many positives from the Patriots’ embarrassing 34-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. But if you're looking for one, it did not take long for cornerback J.C. Jackson to get re-acclimated to life in New England’s secondary.

“It’s nothing, it’s easy. It’s like a second nature,” Jackson said of returning. “Get out there and do what I love to do and this is my defense. This is the defense that I started with and made me who I am. So coming back here is just going back and I’m back. I’m back.”

Jackson’s short stint with the Chargers did not go how either side envisioned after he signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the team in free agency prior to the 2022 season. With L.A. looking to move on, the Patriots then officially reacquired Jackson in a trade on Thursday.

“I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it,” he said of the trade. “But I was happy and that’s the key. You want to be happy. You want to be happy with what you’re doing, and this place has my heart.”

Despite being with the team for just four days, Jackson was active on Sunday and played 50 percent of New England’s defensive snaps. While he nearly gave up one big play to Chris Olave, Jackson allowed just two catches for 15 yards on four targets.

“It happened so fast, the trade and everything. I didn’t know it until the day before. I landed in Foxborough and got here ready to work,” Jackson said post game. “It was an easy stretch. Like I’ve said, I’ve played here before and kind of know what’s going on. I played a little bit today and I feel good.”

The 27-year-old appeared to look like his old self for New England on Sunday, but the Patriots could also use the true return of Mr. INT. The Patriots defense has forced just two turnovers this season, which ranks 31st in the NFL.

“Having that turnover can be contagious,” Jackson responded when asked how he can give boost the Patriots’ secondary. “Once you get one turnover, they come in bunches. I think that's what we got to do as a secondary, start creating more takeovers. I think that’s going to be a big help to the team.”

Despite Jackson looking the part in his return - and also indicating that his injured knee felt “really good” — New England’s 34-0 loss was uncharted territory for the 27-year old in Foxboro.

“We lost,” Jackson said. “Just got to step back and get ready for next week. I mean that was a tough loss, I’ve never lost like that here but we want to get back to work.”

However, Jackson is happy to be home, where he’ll hope for better results moving forward.

“It feels like home,” he added. “Feels like home. Familiar faces. Just feels like home. Good to be home, I feel appreciated here. I’m excited to be back.”