If asked to name my favorite current member of the Buffalo Bills, I undoubtedly would say running back Fred Jackson. Hard-working, determined, he never gives up to achieve his goal of playing in the NFL or a first-down.
He’s a likable guy. According to a dealer at a Las Vegas casino, him and his wife Danielle play cards. Nothing big or nothing flashy, he’s not one for that. The response from the dealer, “He’s such a nice guy.”
Despite the obvious competition on the field, he pushes C.J. Spiller to be better. He cheers and celebrates his accomplishments even though many are upset that Spiller isn’t getting the ball more.
Jackson can do it all. He has the ability to burst into space and do damage, he can pass block like a fullback, and has no problems catching the pass, but isn’t this just another case of nice guys finish last?
It wasn’t easy for Fred Jackson to get where he is today.
Playing at a Division III school such as Coe College a player does not get the notoriety others do and because of that Jackson went undrafted. He played two seasons for the Sioux City Bandits in the National Indoor Football League and the United Indoor Football League. Jackson made only $200 a week and split his time working as a youth counselor at Four Oaks. In addition he played for NFL Europe for the Rhein Fire in 2006.
His struggles continued when he joined the Bills. Buffalo was content on using running back Willis McGahee in 2006 and in 2007 drafted Marshawn Lynch despite Jackson appearing in eight games. As a woeful offensive line struggled to protect Trent Edwards and company the Buffalo Bills ground game could not get on track until Freddy Jackson changed it.
In 2009, Jackson took over the starting job from Marshawn Lynch in Week 12 and rushed for 1,062 yards. He also proved to be a versatile back catching 46 balls and returned kicks. He accumulated 1,014 return yards making him the first player in NFL history to rush and return for more than 1,000 yards.
His recent season-ending injuries in 2011 and 2012 are a concern, but Jackson is signed until 2015.
Odds are with the emergence of C.J. Spiller, Jackson is likely to take a step backward in the offense instead of either being the go-to-guy or splitting time.
Jackson has been successful everywhere he has gone and his determination and heart he wears on his sleeve is exactly the type of player the Buffalo faithful identify with. Let’s hope the new management realize what they have in Fred Jackson and know how important he is to this organization.