Steven Jackson might miss out on a good thing: the St. Louis Rams’ 2013 campaign. The 29-year-old running back suggested that he might retire at the end of the 2012 season when his contract with St. Louis expires.
It goes without saying that Rams fans would like to see Jackson play his age-30 season with the ascending ballclub. However, the seven-time 1,000-yard rusher cited that he’d “rather go out like Barry Sanders—wanting people to want more than to leave too late” to reporters, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.
Jackson needs just 10 rushing yards in Week 17 to secure his eighth straight 1,000-yard season. If he stays for 2013, he’ll be looking for his ninth as the veteran presence on a team stacked with rookies and sophomores; St. Louis was the youngest team in the NFL during 2012.
Rams youngest team in NFL and could hang in this thing. When writing about them locking up their young core all summer some laughed. Hmm— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 5, 2012
Week 17’s matchup against the Seattle Seahawks gives Jackson his first shot at a winning record since entering the NFL in 2004.
St. Louis would finish 8-7-1 and undefeated in the NFC West (5-0-1 in division) if it can win at one of only two NFL venues where visitors have not been victorious this season. The more likely scenario, therefore, is a Rams loss in Seattle—which would result in St. Louis falling just a half-game short of .500.
Jackson recently eclipsed 10,000 career rushing yards in his ninth season of NFL tenure. Compared to many disappointing professional campaigns, his milestone may be perceived as a high point worthy of walking away with for the veteran ball-carrier.
He could ride off into the sunset after at least one more year, though. His young Rams squad seems poised to make the playoffs next season under the experience of head coach Jeff Fisher.
It seems like Jackson won’t be in any other NFL uniform next year. If he’s playing, it should be to continue a Rams rebuild that actually looks like it’s going somewhere. Also per Florio, Jackson was quoted as saying, "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?"
The answer would be to go out like Barry Sanders—but going out like a champion (division, conference or Super Bowl) has to be a more attractive option.
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