Steven Jackson's Recently High Level of Play a Coincidence?

Drew CopleyCorrespondent IIDecember 2, 2012

Nov. 25, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA: St. Louis Rams running back (39) Steven Jackson runs the ball in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The Rams' leading rusher in franchise history, Steven Jackson, has been a factor in the St. Louis offense for the better part of a decade. But the ninth-year player's time with the team that drafted him will soon come to an end.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports reported the plan in detail that voids the final season (2013) in Jackson's contract, granting him unrestricted free agency after the current season is complete. This decision not only saves money for the Rams next season, but also discards a 29-year-old back who has been consistently seeing split carries with younger players for the first time in his career.

The past three weeks have been a different story for the veteran. Having a total of 53 carries for 140 yards and one touchdown in Weeks 10 and 12 shows they are feeding him the ball more than ever this season. In Week 11, Jackson had 81 yards on the ground with a 6.2 yard average.

Is it a coincidence that Steven Jackson is suddenly becoming a playmaker with explosive gains? Of course longtime Rams fans will argue he always done this, and in his younger days you saw this type of running all the time. But in reality Jackson has lost a step—or at least that's what it had seemed. But now his re-emergence shows him looking better than he has in quite some time.

With rookies Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead set to takeover the Rams backfield next season, perhaps Jackson is trying to prove something to his longtime franchise that's willing to give him up. Either that or he is desperately wanting to make a statement to teams who will undoubtedly be fishing for him in free agency.

After all, the 2013 free-agent running backs list sports many fine backs such as Reggie Bush, Shonn Greene and Rashard Mendenhall who could also be vying for NFL teams.