'Special J' is NFC's best

Terry Jackson is special. This is not news to the 49ers. But now the word is spreading throughout the rest of the NFL after the fifth-year veteran was named Wednesday as NFC Special Teams player of the week after his phenomenal effort on specialty units during last week's win over the Chicago Bears, when Jackson recorded six tackles and recovered two fumbles. "He was probably as invaluable as anyone on our team," Niners coach Dennis Erickson said, "when he can make six tackles in 12 plays."

In his first game back since suffering a season-ending knee injury last October, Jackson was a terror covering punts and kickoffs against the Bears - the latter of which San Francisco did plenty of since the Niners scored five touchdowns and five field goals. Jackson picked up right where he left off before being hurt last season, when he was the Niners' special teams captain for the second consecutive year.

"I just try to lead by example and let everybody know that, 'Hey, this is what we have to do,'" Jackson said. "I was just out there trying to make plays and do my job. It was a team award, because I couldn't have made any plays that I made without the rest of the guys out there."

Jackson spearheaded a tremendous effort by San Francisco's special teams, which also blocked a punt and forced and recovered a fumble. Both plays set up second-quarter touchdowns for the Niners and helped turn their opener into a rout by halftime.

But Jackson was the undeniable star of the day, recording half of the team's tackles on kickoff and punt coverage. His six tackles were a career high and the most in the NFL by a special teamer so far this season.

"He has a knack for making plays," Erickson said. "He wasn't put in any position where he could get down the field and make plays faster than anyone else."

With San Francisco's special teams now becoming more talented and experienced, it's allowing Jackson to thrive immediately this season. But that's something he has been doing for a while on special teams. He led those units with 19 tackles in 2000 and 21 in 2001.

"I'm just out there being a football player," Jackson said, "and just trying to be around the ball."

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