Before signing the dotted line to join the Falcons on a three year contract, Steven Jackson almost retired. The 10 year veteran admits he contemplated taking the Barry Sanders route briefly after the season.
Barry Sander famously retired after 10 seasons at age of 30. His storied career saw him rush for 15,269 yards. If he had played another season, he probably would have surpassed Walter Payton for most rushing yards ever. Payton’s mark stands at 16,726 yards. Emmit Smith would later pass Payton’s mark with 18,355 career yards.
Over his career with the Rams, Steven Jackson rushed for 10,135 yards with eight consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. Speaking in Atlanta after signing with the Falcons, Jackson admitted her seriously considered retirement, “I really considered that. . . . I really contemplated ‘do I continue to play football’ or ‘do I retire,’” and gives his respect to Barry Sanders decision.
Steven Jackson proposed retirement would have been a little different than Barry Sanders though. Sanders retired because he was tired of Detroit’s losing culture and wanted to be traded. The Lions refused to trade him and instead sued him for money owed.
If Steven Jackson had chosen retirement, it would have been on his own terms.
Perhaps the chance to join a contender was too tempting for Steven Jackson. He was drafted by the Rams in 2004, just as the “Greatest Show On Turf” era ended. Since being drafted he has played for a number of offensive coordinators and head coaches.
On the Falcons, Jackson joins a team that was one touchdown away from going to the Super Bowl. With the return of Tony Gonzalez for one more year, Atlanta is poised to make another run. Adding Steven Jackson gives them a proven work horse to help balance the offense and keep opposing defenses honest.
If Steven Jackson had retired, he would be a candidate for the Hall of Fame right now. The life spans of productive running backs in the league is roughly four years. It is not easy to eclipse 10,000 career rushing yards. Jackson’s return shows he believes he is still has something to prove in an already storied career.
Are you surprised Steven Jackson almost retired? Did he make the right decision signing with the Falcons instead?