Through 11 weeks of play in 2012 Steven Jackson was defying “Father Time” with 150 carries for 585 rush yards.
The then-St. Louis Rams running back had everyone in the NFL talking as Jackson was doing some of the best running of his career despite being in his ninth professional season. Jackson and the Rams would fall short of the postseason and at the end of the year the St. Louis hero booked south and signed a three-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons. At this point; Jackson is wishing that he’d never signed his name on that dotted line.
While many blame injuries for Jackson’s slow 2013 start, it’s clear to see that the three-time All-Pro just doesn’t have much left in the tank. On Sunday, Jackson rushed for a mere 41 yards on 11 carries as his nightmare of a season continued versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — a year that has included four missed games and zero rushing touchdowns. The running back position in the NFL has changed over the years as it’s much more common to see teams putting first or second year players at tailback than it was five or 10 years ago. Moreover, there aren’t too many 30-year-old backs like Jackson getting a majority of the reps around the league.
Due to the Falcons’ horrid season and other salary cap commitments (Matt Ryan‘s hefty contract), I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Jackson was waived by the team immediately following the season. Therefore, the veteran back will likely hit the open market as a free agent for the second straight season. While you can make the argument that any NFL team could use a leader like Jackson in the backfield; the massive contracts that Jackson is used to seeing surely won’t be made available this offseason, and does the 10-year vet really want to play for pennies?
With that being said, it would make perfect sense for an aging Jackson to hang up his cleats for good this spring and wait for the day that the Rams retire his No. 39 jersey, because we all know it’s coming.