I can’t explain how shocked I am that the NFL trading deadline passed Thursday afternoon and running back Steven Jackson remains a member of the St. Louis Rams.
Talk about much ado about nothing. Of course, that still doesn’t address what Jackson’s future will be, but that’s a story for another day. After all, the Rams still have eight games remaining in the season, and winning as many of those games as possible remains the focus of the team.
As Jackson said Thursday during his weekly talk with reporters, when asked if what happens in the final two months of the season will determine whether he is back with the Rams or ends up elsewhere, “I’m not quite sure on that. Definitely hope that we finish the season strong. Communication between my agent and the front office will happen at some point, probably more toward the end of the season.
“But right now, like I said, I’m completely focused on the San Francisco 49ers and the next eight games going forward. As long as I can continue to play good football, I think the organization will want to keep me around.”
Jackson was speaking as the minutes ticked down on the 3 p.m. deadline for trades to be made, but it was obvious nothing would happen. Of course, Jackson would have had to have been in a cave not to have heard all the speculation about a potential deal.
“I was very aware of trade speculation and what was going on,” he said. “But one thing about me, and even going back to my holdout (in 2008), I understand that this is a business and that if a particular team has options or are taking phone calls, (that) doesn’t mean they want to get rid of me. It’s just the interest of other teams and seeing what may happen or may transpire with my contract, especially, it may be in there at the end of the season.
“I’m not offended by it, nor am I going to be distracted by it. I’m ready to go into this bye week, get away for the weekend, but come back ready to finish strong these next eight games.”
He said, “At no point ... I really felt that it may happen.”
As for how the Rams handled the situation and whether they communicated, Jackson said, “Personally and as a professional, they’ve been very transparent with me. They’ve always been open with me about my role, what they want and expect from me, and it hasn’t changed. So, although things have changed a lot around here, they’ve given me the respect of being very transparent with me.”
As for how it’s been sharing carries with rookie Daryl Richardson, Jackson said, “It’s a huge adjustment, but I think the more you embrace change, it makes things for transition work a little easier. That’s why I try to do my best, and just be the veteran that I know I can be. Go out there, take advantage of the opportunity that is given to me, run hard, and show the young guys behind me how to be a professional on and off the field.”
Finally, when asked if he has unfinished business with the Rams, he said, “Absolutely. I’ve achieved a lot of things individually, but none of that is why I play the game or what I have in store for my career. I want to be a part of a winning organization. I want to have multiple playoff games under my belt and, hopefully, a championship or two.”