Veteran running back Steven Jackson has seen his numbers decline over the last several seasons, but he still hopes for the opportunity to continue his NFL career. And, as he tells Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com, Jackson would prefer to join a contending team if possible.
“I don’t want to go to a team that is rebuilding and needs me to come on and teach guys how to be professional,” Jackson said. “I’ve done that. I’ve been more than vocal about wanting to help young guys, but at some point I have to be a little selfish. I want to be part of a winning team because when I do hang up my cleats, I can see a lot of people holding that over my head when a lot of it was out of my control.”
Jackson, who turns 32 in July, earned three Pro Bowl nods during his nine years with the Rams, and for his NFL career, he has racked up 11,388 rushing yards, plus another 3,663 through the air. However, as he alludes to in his conversation with Wagoner, the former first-round pick hasn’t made the postseason since his rookie year in St. Louis, on a Rams team that finished with a .500 record.
“I have all the things I’ve accomplished personally, but I’ve still never been on a team that won more than eight games,” Jackson said. “That would be definitely one of the things that I’m looking for is that opportunity in my next chapter.”
Released by the Falcons in February, Jackson had the opportunity to hit the free agent market early, before a number of other running backs became available. However, that didn’t result in a deal, and there haven’t been any reports suggesting the longtime Ram has even paid a visit to any teams over the last two and a half months. Given his declining production, Jackson wouldn’t necessarily be an upgrade for a contender in need of a running back – such as the Cowboys – so he may have to wait until a team gets hit with an injury or two before he finds an opportunity.
Wherever he ends up this year – whether that’s with a new team or at home – Jackson wants to return to St. Louis at some point to officially end his career as a member of the franchise where he spent the majority of his NFL years.
“I definitely want to retire as a Ram,” Jackson told Wagoner. “It’s definitely something I want and that would be to go back. … I’ll never forget standing in that meeting room and watching Isaac Bruce retire. When I saw that up close and personal, I said I want that for myself whenever I retire.”