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Fred Jackson is old, but he doesn’t feel old

fredjakcson AP

Fred Jackson is 33 years old. Which is ancient for an NFL running back. Jackson was the oldest running back to carry the ball in the NFL last year and will be again this year, and when Jackson agreed to a contract extension with the Bills yesterday, there were questions about why on earth a team would extend the contract of a player who’s already long in the tooth.

Except that Jackson is still playing well: Last year he ran 206 times for 890 yards, added 47 catches for 387 yards, and scored 10 touchdowns. And Jackson says he feels like he’s in great shape and ready to turn in another good year this year.

“I had a tremendous offseason with our strength and conditioning coaches, I think they did a great job getting me to where I am today, so I’ve got to give those guys a lot of credit,” he said. “I’m hungry and motivated. I think a renewed sense of getting this thing turned around, with some of the moves we made in the offseason putting the pieces around us I think that’s got to have a lot of guys excited, and I’m one of them.”

If Jackson can top 800 yards again this year, he’ll join some truly elite company. Only seven players in NFL history have rushed for 800 yards at age 33 or later, and they’re all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Emmitt Smith, Marcus Allen, Walter Payton, John Riggins, Franco Harris, Larry Csonka and John Henry Johnson. Jackson isn’t an all-time great like those players, but he’s had a long and impressive career in Buffalo. And he’s not done yet.

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37 Responses to “Fred Jackson is old, but he doesn’t feel old”
  1. dblockdedicated says: Jul 31, 2014 4:29 PM

    Dolphins fan and I despise the Bills but..

    Fred Jackson is a beast.

  2. ccc23454 says: Jul 31, 2014 4:30 PM

    a good back and great team leader, I hope when he is finally done he coaches for the Bills! Freddy is just awesome as a person and a player…

  3. barsfordays says: Jul 31, 2014 4:33 PM

    Fred Jackson is a straight up beast. Dude is the heart and soul of the Bills, I’d take him over CJ Spiller anyday. I can see Fred signing another extention. Something tells me these next two years wont be the last we see of him, especially if he keeps up his performance. A true warrior. Oh and one more thing, when Fred does decide to hang ‘em up, Buffalo alsobbetter hang that #22 up!

  4. u4iadman says: Jul 31, 2014 4:41 PM

    Fred has been a steady player, wish him well.

    Imagine if he were a part of our 49ers team…would teach them some class, esp our coach Harbaugh.

  5. billsbackto81 says: Jul 31, 2014 4:49 PM

    True success story. Coe College and undrafted. Made the rounds, got his shot and never looked back. Never had anything handed to him, never pitied himself and never quit. Now he’s a millionaire pro athlete with the respect of his peers, coaches and fans alike. Enjoy the fruit of your labor Freddy, you deserve it!

  6. Corey Jeppesen says: Jul 31, 2014 4:57 PM

    We’re so lucky to have him on our team. Go Bills!

  7. george1859 says: Jul 31, 2014 4:59 PM

    This extension is payback for some of Fred’s previous underpaid years.
    Congrats.

  8. bassplucker says: Jul 31, 2014 5:01 PM

    I always considered Fred Jackson the AFC version of Matt Forte. Of course having the same uniform # might have contributed to that, too.

  9. bullcharger says: Jul 31, 2014 5:04 PM

    Fred Jackson should be a role player, not a lead back. Why on earth Buffalo ever let Lynch go is beyond me.

  10. britishraven says: Jul 31, 2014 5:07 PM

    Fred Jackson is a hero

  11. hungbob says: Jul 31, 2014 5:45 PM

    Offensive player of the year for the Bills in 2013.

    Oh that Spiller could be half the player and have half the heart of Fred Jackson.

  12. johnnyjagfan says: Jul 31, 2014 6:08 PM

    Everyone in Buffalo and in fantasy was ready to dump Freddy last Summer and ride the young kid Spiller. He reminded everyone last year of how good he is. I think the Bills figured it out, too. $2.5M is really good for a vet RB these days…especially one that got 10TDs last year.

  13. thefiesty1 says: Jul 31, 2014 6:26 PM

    I wonder what he could have done with any other team except the Bills. Might have been an elite like Emmett, et al.

  14. justintuckrule says: Jul 31, 2014 7:12 PM

    Ottis Anderson won the SB MVP at age 34. Age is only a number.

  15. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jul 31, 2014 7:25 PM

    Go Freddy! Age is just a number.

  16. 13whysoserious says: Jul 31, 2014 8:30 PM

    People who feel the need to slag Spiller whenever Fred’s name gets brought up simply don’t know football. All Spiller does is mind his business, work hard and put up numbers better than Jackson could ever hope to. Remember, just two years ago, Spiller averaged 6.2 YPC. A historically high number. No offense, but Fred could never dream of that kind of game breaking ability. Last year, with a high ankle sprain, he matched Jackson’s output. He doesn’t beat his wife in elevators or smoke weed, yet we despise him because he’s not Fred? People in this town like the lovable underdog, so much so they can’t see the forest through the trees. We love Rob Ray, Steve Ott and Fred Jackson. Unfortunately, it’s elite players who will take us past mediocrity. People should pray Spiller has a another huge year or we we’ll be looking at another 7-9 year.

  17. unislaya says: Jul 31, 2014 9:22 PM

    Dear Fred,

    You were old last year, and the year before, and the year before that…

    just sayin

  18. mazenblue says: Jul 31, 2014 9:23 PM

    “Fred has been a steady player, wish him well.”

    Steadie Freddie!

  19. ejmanuelshands says: Jul 31, 2014 9:30 PM

    13whysoserious says:
    Jul 31, 2014 8:30 PM
    People who feel the need to slag Spiller whenever Fred’s name gets brought up simply don’t know football. All Spiller does is mind his business, work hard and put up numbers better than Jackson could ever hope to. Remember, just two years ago, Spiller averaged 6.2 YPC. A historically high number. No offense, but Fred could never dream of that kind of game breaking ability. Last year, with a high ankle sprain, he matched Jackson’s output. He doesn’t beat his wife in elevators or smoke weed, yet we despise him because he’s not Fred? People in this town like the lovable underdog, so much so they can’t see the forest through the trees. We love Rob Ray, Steve Ott and Fred Jackson. Unfortunately, it’s elite players who will take us past mediocrity. People should pray Spiller has a another huge year or we we’ll be looking at another 7-9 year.
    ———————————————–

    Thank God. I created an account to say something similar, then found this. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Freddie. He is a great back, a great leader and player and person. I hope he retires a Bill. But praising Freddie doesn’t have to simultaneously lead to bashing Spiller. They are different players and different people, with different skill sets. But Spiller is a team player, with a great work ethic and explosive abilities. Please, take the time to listen to an interview with CJ Spiller. He is a humble, well-spoken, driven individual who says all of the right things. He seems to love Buffalo and his teammates (see his tweets about Freddie’s extension). He wants to win just as much as any of these guys, and he tries his BEST to do it, every single day and every single game. Please, do your homework, and start loving CJ too.

  20. happywolverine says: Jul 31, 2014 9:45 PM

    Anyone who thinks CJ has “half the heart” is a striaght up goof and hasn’t followed this team at all.

    He carried us 2 years ago when everyone went down to injuries and Fitz was throwing stinkers.

    Have some respect for a CJ, a real team player just like Freddy

  21. sanchock says: Jul 31, 2014 9:53 PM

    He’s old but his long road to actually start in the NFL means he’s got low mileage for his age:

    Fred Jackson (33yrs old) – 1,100 attempts
    Steven Jackson (31) – 2,500 attempts
    Frank Gore (31) – 2,200 attempts
    LeSean Mccoy (26) – 1,150 attempts

    He did have 700 attempts prior to the NFL, though I don’t know how arena football league carries convert to NFL carries in terms of wear.

    Obviously this doesn’t mean he can play till 40 before he hits a wall, but it’s possible he’s got a few more legit years left.

  22. abcomment says: Jul 31, 2014 10:16 PM

    My favorite Bill from the last 15 years.

  23. billsbackto81 says: Jul 31, 2014 10:35 PM

    Got all the love in the world for Spiller. He’s got that game breaking ability you love in a back. He just doesnt seem to run angry like Freddy does. Between the tackles, dragging defenders and such. CJ’s game is to get him in space and watch him make people look foolish. With Freddy its 6yds, 8yds, 5yds, 8yds. CJ is 2yds, -1yd, 3yds, 35yds. The new talent for the O-line plus a healthy CJ should provide another 1200plus year.

    BTW: It was 6.0 ypc in 2012, tied with AP for best in the NFL.

  24. keepyerstickontheice says: Jul 31, 2014 10:51 PM

    Fred Jackson scored 10 TD’s in 2013, CJ got two.

    Freddy got 60 first downs last year, CJ only had 31.

    Fred picked up 1,277 yards, CJ 1,118.

    Fred Jackson holds the half back record for most pass blocking snaps without a pressure for a single with 83 back in 2011. When CJ comes in, the defense stacks the box because they know it’s a run play.

    Hard work will always beat talent that doesn’t work hard.

  25. billsboy88 says: Jul 31, 2014 11:38 PM

    Freddy is a player everyone in the nfl should admire. A stand up citizen, a leader, a team player, a mentor and a beast on the field. He can play in buffalo as long as he wants

  26. calvinthegreat81 says: Jul 31, 2014 11:46 PM

    Fragile Fred is the man! How can you not like this guy!?

  27. chiveonvikes says: Aug 1, 2014 1:33 AM

    Is that FredEx???

  28. nativeraider says: Aug 1, 2014 1:41 AM

    Freds the type of RB Lamont Jordan or Shonn Greene was supposed to be. Respect.

  29. paychrisjohnson28 says: Aug 1, 2014 5:10 AM

    I am from a small city called Sioux city, Iowa and Fred Jackson played for the Arena Football team called the Sioux city Bandits where he scored 53 touchdowns in 1 year and led his Arena Football team to the championship game coming up 1 point short. Then 1 year later, Bills President Marv Levy signed the fellow Coe College alum Fred Jackson to a 1 year contract after a tryout, and the rest is history. Fred Jackson is a great player for where he came from and the class he exudes due to humbleness and extreme hard work and being a great locker room guy, that every new coach with the Bills sees. To accomplish what he has in the NFL to this point is nothing short of amazing, any way you look at it, for an undrafted Runningback out of tiny Coe College. Great job Fred! #22!

  30. onlynyteam22 says: Aug 1, 2014 7:27 AM

    @13whysoseriousp @ejmanuelshands in so happy you guys wrote this, couldn’t agree more. CJ is a heck of a back and for people to question his heart and attitude is insane. Like Fred, CJ is also a pros pro. works hard everyday and never says a word. the guy was injury plagued last year and still had respectable numbers. Fred Jackson would be pissed and I’m sure is pissed knowing people trash CJ when compared to himself. I love both these backs and an beyond happy we as ,Bills fans , get to watch both these guys play and show case their skills.

  31. onlynyteam22 says: Aug 1, 2014 7:31 AM

    oh yeah , one more thing. is he a the only wall of fame candidate from the past 15 years ? Eric Moulds maybe ? idk but id like to see Freda name up there. 2 or 3 more solid years , and it will be

  32. unclebluck says: Aug 1, 2014 8:45 AM

    Best 1-2 running punch in the league…bar none…..

  33. billsfan1 says: Aug 1, 2014 8:59 AM

    One of my best friends works at a window cleaning/drapery cleaning business and made a house call to Fred’s house….. said he was even cooler than he appears. Just an all around good dude.

    Maybe this guy should be MC of the rookie symposium. Im pretty sure 3/4 of the NFL could learn a lot from a guy like Fred Jackson

  34. billsmafiaordie says: Aug 1, 2014 11:00 AM

    Spiller, Fred Ex << he delivers, Bryce Brown, Anthony Dixon. I think if they all stay healthy they will have the best running back tandem in the league this year. I do believe the o. line has to stay healthy. And one of the rookies drafted this year on the o. line will step up. This should be a fun year Bills fans. Especially with Watkins, R. Woods, Mike Williams and M. Goodwin. EJ stays healthy this team makes playoffs. Out of all these players along with Chandler. Who dey going to cover?

  35. djshnooks says: Aug 1, 2014 2:58 PM

    He has less mileage on his legs than TB’s who are younger than him. He’s not old.

    He’s still one of the best RB’s in the game.

  36. djshnooks says: Aug 1, 2014 3:01 PM

    How soon everyone forgets…He was also a leading candidate for MVP a couple years ago before he got hurt mid-season…he led the NFL in rushing and receiving.

  37. djshnooks says: Aug 1, 2014 3:03 PM

    Spiller had 1,200 yards and 6.1 yards per carry on one leg.

    He averages over 5 ypc for his career.

    CJ Spiller does not suck.

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