St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson (39) runs in the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) By Elaine Thompson
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- If the St. Louis Rams draft a running back in the first round, they swear it won't be because Steven Jackson is slowing down.
Last season, Jackson led the NFL in combined touches and three of the last five years he's topped 300 carries. In 2009, he played the final third of the season with a herniated disk that required surgery.
There's been little relief, given Jackson had 330 carries last year while backups Kenneth Darby and Keith Toston totaled just 54.
Coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney maintained Tuesday that when it's time to make the 14th overall pick, running back will be no more important than a lot of other positions.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)