(FootballStL) -- I don’t believe the dictionary has an official definition of “work horse” as it relates to a running back in football, but if it did, I do believe you’d see a picture of Steven Jackson right next to it.
At 29-years-old and more than 2,000 carries into his career, number 39 is still getting better and stronger as the games go along throughout these grueling seasons.
I’d like to think most people truly understand just how difficult it is to play running back in the NFL. You’ve got grown men (and I mean certified beasts) at 250 pounds of nearly pure muscle launching themselves at you with the intent to do harm. Throw in the fact they all run around 4.5 40-yard dashes and the force that comes with that punch makes the hits these running backs take borderline inhumane.
Some hits are around the torso area or even a little higher around the chest. Places that, you know, are mostly capable of taking a shot. Some of the hits, however, take place in areas that are not as capable of taking those shots. Like...the knees. Football is a dirty, sometimes barbaric sport and the New Orleans Saints have proven that many guys out there are absolutely trying to hurt you.
The fact Steven Jackson has continued, in this day and age, to take the rock and run through (not around) defenders is a testament to his hard work and dedication to taking care of his body. This offseason, Jackson got his body fat percentage down to a ridiculous five percent. That’s obscene.
Well, more than half the way through the season he’s still able to rush for 139 yards against the Cardinals (on 5.8 yards per carry), 81 against the Jets (6.2 YPC) and 101 versus the 49ers tremendous rush defense.
Jackson carried Patrick Willis about three yards a few weeks ago and had several instances of just that on Sunday in Arizona. Even though he’s been on the losing end of things way too much here in St. Louis, Jackson has been a model citizen who’s continued to set an example with his hard work.
I once heard someone call Jackson “a pro’s pro to end all pros pros”. That’s about as accurate of a statement that you can find. How many people out there (professional athletes, that is) would continue to work as hard and care as much at age 29 as they did at age 22 while enduring the worst five year stretch in the history of the NFL?
Answer: not many.
I don’t know when the Steven Jackson era is going to end here in St. Louis. It could be sooner rather than later simply due to the economics of the sport. But the legacy he’ll leave behind is clear. He’s one of the greatest players on a bad team in the history of this league. And that’s something hopefully no one will soon forget.