The Bills announced that they signed running back Fred Jackson to a contract extension.
About a week ago I made a crazy predication that the Buffalo Bills might outright cut Fred Jackson. There had been some rumors and in this current take no prisoners, cut throat NFL we currently live in, anything and everything is possible. Don’t forget Bruce Smith was a Redskin, Thurman Thomas played a handful of games for the dreaded Dolphins and newest hall of famer Andre Reed joined fellow hall of famer Bruce Smith in DC for a while.
In Fred’s case I am glad it didn’t. Fred Jackson is everything you want and need on an NFL roster.
Hard working? Check
Beat the odds to earn first a roster spot, then a starting spot? We all know that Jackson went to tiny Div III Coe College and the Arena League with a stint in Europe before he latched on with the Bills.
Clutch player who plays his position professionally? Fred’s resume as an NFL running back includes a 1,000 yard rushing season, the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, able to block in pass protection and gets tough extra yards and has a nose for the end zone. Yeah, that’s pretty much what you want an NFL running back to be able to do.
All that aside, it was important for the Bills to lock up Fred for all the other reasons. Fred is a team leader and the offensive co-captain. The players universally look up to, and respect Jackson as a player and a person. Letting Fred go would have sent the wrong message to a young team trying to learn how to win.
He is unselfish. Fred Jackson does whatever the Buffalo Bills need him to do. Like I said, Fred will block, catch, hell, he’d try and kick an extra point if the Bills needed him to. When he’s on the bench he’s still involved and wants to see young teammates like EJ Manuel, Robert Woods and CJ Spiller thrive.
He’s reliable. Fred shows up to work everyday. In this day and age of selfish, self-centered, egotistical athletes, it is refreshing to see a football player, grab his lunch pail, get to work on time, and do whatever the boss needs done. Again, he’s an example to the young guys!
He is involved in the community. Fred has been a model citizen in Buffalo. He was the Buffalo Bills Walter Payton Man of the Year for 2010. There is not a day that goes by that Western New York does not see Fred Jackson using his free time to do something that makes the area a better place to live. Not to mention that Fred is an outstanding family man. Something that should not be overlooked as we see families all around us breaking down. Fred is again an example to all young men of what it means to be a father and husband.
All of this makes Fred Jackson Buffalo’s kind of guy. Would this mean as much in New York? Miami? Boston? I don’t now, I do know that it means a lot to the people who call Buffalo their hometown. The Bills are on the verge of turning the corner and if they do it would mean a lot if Fred Jackson were part of the solution. Lord knows, he has suffered through losing season after losing season, played hard, giving it his all the entire time. I think I speak for all the Bills fans when I say that I want to see #22 run out of the tunnel during the introductions of a playoff game, in Buffalo, in January. Seeing Fred join the other team captains for the coin toss as the Bills return to their rightful place in the playoffs.
The Bills did the right thing for their team and their fans when the extended Fred Jackson.
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