Jackson wants his name on a trophy

BY foxsports • December 9, 2010

ALL ACCESS: A lot of networks do TV interviews, but have you ever wanted to know the juicy details that never make air? You can tell a lot about who people really are when the cameras aren’t rolling. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the interview that Pam Oliver had with St. Louis running back Steven Jackson for this week's segment on the NFL on FOX pregame show.

Steven Jackson wants the world to know his name. Not sort of know his name, think they’ve heard of him or say, boy, that name sure sounds familiar.

Jackson, who recently surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson as the Rams’ all-time leading rusher, wants to leave such an impression that hardware will eventually follow.

“I want a trophy named after me,” he told me with not a shred of conceit. “In 20 or 30 years, (I want) to be someone who has a trophy named after me and what I’ve accomplished is a standard for someone else.”

I was deeply worried I might call him Stephen Davis, the former Redskins and Carolina Panthers running back, because I’d come across a mention of Davis in an article the night before the interview and his name was stuck in my head. I’m sure Jackson would have hated that and I would have just died right there on the spot.

I spoke with Jackson for a feature story for FOX NFL Sunday at the Rams’ facility that’s located in Earth City, Missouri, after the team’s practice Wednesday. He had his famous flowing locks tied back in a rubber band not nearly capable of being twisted twice because of the thickness of his upper-back-length braids.

Jackson greets you with a warm smile and a strong hug. As we waited for the cameras to roll, I kidded him about his 5 percent body fat, which I read about someplace where Stephen Davis’ name didn’t pop up in the clips.

It seemed kind of low for a running back. You would think he’d want to cushion some of those blows as the wear and tear mounts on his 27-year-old body. I told Jackson on the way out — where he had to pass a toddler-sized bobble-head doll of Marshall Faulk that we used as a door stop — to eat a sandwich, have a carbohydrate or something, and he politely laughed.

Jackson’s proud of his minuscule fat layer and he’s proud of his body of work. The latter is terrific and probably goes terrifically unnoticed among many out there, except his peers.

“Sometimes I’ve wondered if people realized I was in the NFL. Just being honest,” he said.

Jackson strives for perfection and he likes things just so. I imagine his pantry shelves with neatly assigned canned goods, his shoes likes ducks in a row and clothes hung by color, then sleeve length. I know he makes his bed every morning because he told me his father, a former Marine, doesn’t play that.

Jackson is no slouch in practice or games. Once during a second workout at training camp two-a-day sessions, Jackson gave quarterback Sam Bradford a glimpse of the type of player he is.

“Everyone was dragging, but not ‘Jack,’” Bradford said. “He was full speed, as competitive as ever, and something happened where one of the offensive linemen got in the way.”

The lineman, Bradford says, ended up getting in way of Jackson scoring a touchdown during practice!

“Jack stops and spikes the ball and gets mad,” Bradford said. “I think it just shows how much he cares about his job.”

His job has been to play standout football on a team that won only one game last season. He hasn’t had a whiff of the postseason since he backed up Faulk his rookie year in 2004 before The Greatest Show on Turf got rug burns.

Two Pro Bowls have come, but not all that much national focus given that the Rams have been unwatchable for years.

“I’ve had my fair share of them,” Jackson says when he talks about his team being the butt of many jokes.

Even his own family had joined in a time or two, he said, with laughter. But it pains him, to a large degree, to see his team deteriorate each season before showing any signs of life.

“I’ve just continued to believe in what I’m doing and the hard work I’ve put in over the years and the faith,’’ he said. “It’s a combination of all those things and just believing that my time will come.”

Offseason surgery repaired a bad back. As for the present, Jackson is playing with a broken finger suffered in Week 7.

“Physically, the game of football has really beaten me up, but in the beating, I’ve found out a lot about myself, “Jackson said.

What I found from talking to Jackson is that his determination and drive have no boundaries. He deserves to be a part of all conversations pertaining to the best running backs in the game today.

He also deserves for everybody to know his name.

For Pam’s complete interview with Stephen Jackson, tune in Sunday to NFL on FOX for America’s No. 1 pregame show at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT.

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