If Steven Jackson’s last home game with the St. Louis Rams was Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, it’s been a nice run for the veteran running back. There have actually been several nice runs over the years by the NFL’s active leader in career rushing yards.
But Jackson’s days with the Rams could be numbered, and even if St. Louis makes the playoffs, there will be no more home games for the Rams in 2012. They would need a lot of help, but could still sneak into the picture as a No. 6 seed—which would not host any games in the postseason under any circumstances.
St. Louis allowed Jackson’s contract—which was intended to extend through the 2013 season—to be voided after this year despite his failure to average 400 receiving yards per season from 2008-2011. Given his quarterback situation during that time, it’s hard to blame him for not maintaining that production.
It is also difficult to imagine that anyone cashed in on receiving incentives in a Rams uniform.
Against Minnesota in Week 15, Jackson became the 27th player in NFL history to record 10,000 career rushing yards. He was just the 15th running back to accomplish the feat in one team’s jersey. That he did it on perennially bad Rams teams—St. Louis is 43-97-1 in his nine seasons with the team—is a testament to his perseverance. It’s especially tough to get a high volume of rushing attempts while trailing.
Jackson has one postseason appearance: his rookie year, when he was still behind Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk on the depth chart. In two games following the 2004 NFL campaign, he totaled 22 touches for 71 total yards. In nine years (129 games), the No. 24 overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft has rushed 2,365 times for 10,002 yards (4.23 yards per carry) and 55 touchdowns. His current position in the record books has placed him into legendary company.
Jackson joins Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Jim Brown and Tiki Barber as 10,000-yard rushers that have played for just one franchise throughout their illustrious careers. Three of those guys (Brown, Payton and Sanders) are Hall of Famers.
It’s almost fitting that No. 39’s milestone came in a Rams loss; he’s been a bright spot on the team for years. Rams fans would certainly like to see his work pay off in the form of a championship run somewhere, but the ideal outcome would combine Jackson building a playoff resume with an encore season in St. Louis.
He’s close enough to 10,000 to hit it again in Florida this weekend, should the Tampa Bay Buccaneers push Jackson back three yards in Week 16 before allowing him to get into a groove. Maybe the Rams will commemorate the occasion with a victory this time around.
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