Fred Jackson spent ten years as a fan favorite as the Buffalo Bills workhorse running back. But while many remember him as a great player who once led the NFL in all-purpose yards out in Western New York, last night he returned to the place he began his pro career. A place he says he'll never forget.
Fans gathered at the Tyson Events Center as Jackson was the guest speaker before the Sioux City Bandits opening game. Before they took on the Beef Jackson took to the podium and signed autographs for fans who were lined up to meet the man who was the United Indoor League co-MVP when he played for the Bandits in 2005. Jackson reflected on what it meant to get back to Sioux City where he was first given his shot as a pro football player.
"Oh man, it's a lot of fun," said Jackson. "You know, to get back. I've had an opportunity to meet some Bills fans back here. So it's great to meet those guys. It's always good to go back where it all began. I try to get back to Coe college too as often as I can. That was the first professional stop. It's a place that I started my career with my brother after college. There's a lot of good reasons to come back. I've still got tremendous friends here that I like to see when I get back this way. It's all just been a lot of fun to take part in."
Jackson is part owner of a steakhouse in Buffalo now but he and his wife Danielle, who is from the Alta and Storm Lake area, and their four kids are not ready to end the NFL dream. At age 36, Jackson says he's not retired and he's hoping to get back on the field for an NFL team.
"Playing-wise I would love to play again," said Jackson. "Training camp, things like that, if I can get into one I'm going to try to. I'm going to spend the next two, three months trying to get on a roster. And if it doesn't happen I can hang my hat on the ten years that I did play. I was in contact with a few teams about coming in (last year). And things never worked out. We'll shake those branches and see what happens. And if it doesn't, like I said, I had ten years where I played and I enjoyed every minute of it."