– There exists a possibility that Sunday’s game in Seattle could be Steven Jackson’s last as a Ram. But could it be his last, period?
– Well, to hear some outlets tell it, the answer to that is yes. But those outlets either missed the context of what Jackson said on Thursday or simply chose to ignore it for hype purposes.
Here’s what Jackson had to say when he was asked how many years he left like he had left to play…
“I’ve always thought about it from day one,” Jackson said. “I’ve always thought about what my exit strategy is going to be. If I had to write my story, I’d rather go out like (former Lions RB) Barry Sanders — wanting people to want more than to leave too late.”
The follow up to that question was when he thought that time might come. Jackson, who was in an obvious playful and joking mood on Thursday said the following:
“Maybe this last one,” Jackson said. “Those hits hurt.”
When Jackson said it, he laughed. He was very obviously joking and it’s quite clear he has no intent to retire this year. That’s just simply not going to happen. For anyone who has been paying attention, it’s very clear that Jackson has a lot left he’d still like to accomplish. He wants to return to the playoffs and win a Super Bowl. He has some league and franchise milestones he can still hit. And he clearly has plenty of good football left in him. Why would he walk away now with so many of those possibilities remaining? It would take something drastic for what was obviously a joke to turn into a reality.
– Now, the FAR more legitimate question is what the future holds for Jackson in St. Louis. At the end of the season, Jackson will have the option to void the final year of his contract. He’s due $7 million from the Rams next season but he could go out and seek a bit more long term security, even if it meant forfeiting a little of that money upfront. He was asked about what will go into that decision again on Thursday and here’s what he said:
“I will allow myself that time to sit back and reflect, think about the things I’ve accomplished in my career, what I’ve done this season and think about how much longer I want to play the game as well,” Jackson said. “It’s going to be a small window of opportunity and I want to make sure that I take full advantage of it.”
– That time to reflect and think will be saved for after the season. For now, Jackson is joining the rest of his team in looking at Sunday’s game in Seattle as an opportunity. An opportunity to reach some team goals and an opportunity to add to an already impressive resume heading to the offseason. So the focus is on this game and all that it could bring in terms of the short term and the long.
“The only way a contract is going to be rewarded to me — regardless of what we decide to go on in the future — is about me playing good and playing at a high level,” Jackson said. “So, that’s my main focus: to remain healthy, to show that I feel I’ve been able to play at a high level, and still able to do all the things that a running back needs to do on this scene.”
– The chance to experience a winning record and going undefeated in the NFC West Division are two motivations for Jackson that go well beyond just reaching 1,000 rushing yards for the eighth straight season. Those type of accomplishments certainly would factor heavily into Jackson’s decision.
“We’ve been 8-8 two times, so I’ve come to understand in this league that it is truly year-to-year,” Jackson said. “What Coach Fisher has brought to this organization, the credibility that going on in the future, I definitely see a very bright future for this organization, and why wouldn’t I want to be a part of that?”
– From the Rams perspective, there’s no doubt of what they’d like to see Jackson do and coach Jeff Fisher doesn’t expect it to be necessary to lobby Jackson to return.
“I don’t think that’s going to be required,” Fisher said. “I think everybody in the building would like to have him back. It’s just matter of us sitting down and working things out.”
– The Rams wrapped up their Friday practice indoors again and seem to be healthy and fully loaded for this weekend’s game against the Seahawks. Here’s the injury report:
Probable: CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh), LB James Laurinaitis (back), RB Steven Jackson (foot), C Scott Wells (knee), S Craig Dahl (knee), WR Austin Pettis (shoulder).
– All participated fully in Friday’s practice.
– I’ll be chatting live shortly if you have questions and want to participate, head on over.
– As always, thanks for reading. Talk to you all from Seattle.
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