When it was announced back in early October around the trade deadline that St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson’s contract contains a clause that allows him to void the deal during this offseason (now), some thought that might mean the end of his days with the franchise that drafted him in the first round back in 2004. Retirement whispers have surfaced, plenty of speculation has gone on, but Jackson has been mum on the situation for the most part. Well, until now that is.
When asked about his future recently, Jackson said: “We are definitely going to sit down. I would hate to watch this organization go on and be successful, which I believe they will, without me. I want to be a part of that.” That doesn’t sound like a man who is jumping ship on the Rams nor is he itching to retire any time soon.
The opt-out clause mentioned above is structured as such that Jackson has one year at $7 million remaining on his current deal, but could void that final season if he so chooses. That doesn’t seem to be in the cards however for the back who continued his record-setting ways this season showcasing his longevity with his eighth straight season with at least 1,000 yards rushing in 2012. Not too shabby for a player considered on the way out through the first month of the year with rookie Daryl Richardson’s emergence onto the scene.
First year Head Coach Jeff Fisher infused some energy into a franchise that was down on its luck during Jackson’s time spent in St. Louis. The back still has yet to be on a team with a winning record throughout the course of his nine-year career. He feels as if that is on the verge of changing however as the back said: “The tides have turned around here. The feeling is different. Last year at this time we were full of uncertainty of what direction we would go but coach Fisher came in right away and made an impact, bringing in guys like Cortland (Finnegan) and our rookie guys like (Michael) Brockers and (Janoris) Jenkins. Those guys are going to be around here for a while and that’s going to help turn this franchise around.”
That is the vibe around the Rams facility recently as the league’s youngest team is bursting with potential and ready to make a real splash in 2013. Jackson wants to be a part of making that splash next season and coach Fisher wants to have him around as well as he said: “I think everybody in the building would like to have him back. It’s just a matter of us sitting down and working things out.”
It’s clear that the Rams and Jackson are about as inseparable as a player and an organization can get these days. He sounds like a rookie again discussing his future with the team as he said: “What’s exciting is being a part of something that was dead and being a part of it being alive again. That’s exciting.” Perhaps the best part about that enthusiasm for Rams fans is knowing that Jackson will be back to continue his journey with the team next year. According to him: “I think certain guys, you just can’t imagine them in another uniform. And I don’t think I or anyone else can imagine me in a different uniform as well.”
Get ready for another year of Steven Jackson in the backfield and given his remarkable track record, another productive season from one of the most under-appreciated players that the NFL has ever known.
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