Jackson Has a New Contract, But Keeps the Old Drive

Fred Jackson finally got what he wanted – a contract extension to stay with the Buffalo Bills.  And the Bills got a satisfied franchise running back for an extra two years.

Jackson signed a two-year, $9 million contract extension as he was going into the last year of his old deal.  Jackson led the Bills in rushing in each of the last three seasons, and was one of the biggest bargains in the NFL as his old contract was four-years for $7.5 million.  The extension rewards Jackson for his performance on the field, and locks down the remaining core piece of the Bills’ offense, after extending quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and wide receiver Stevie Johnson in the last 12 months.

Bills RB Fred Jackson

“I’m happy to be here,” Jackson said.  “I always said that I wanted to be here and now I have that opportunity to be here.”

“I’m glad that this is over with and now I can focus on playing football.”

Jackson is very optimistic.  “I think we can get a lot accomplished in three years,” Jackson said.  “I definitely want to be a part of that.”

The trio of Jackson, Fitzpatrick and Johnson give the Bills the key pieces of an offense that showed flashes of brilliance last season, before they were decimated by injuries.  But the trio, all with new contracts, is very confident about what they can accomplish.

Asked about if he ever thought that he, Fitzpatrick, and Johnson could be the core of this team going forward, Jackson said:  “It was something that we wanted to be. It was something we talked about back then. If we get our chance we’re going to stay out there and make the plays that we can. It’s good to see that come to fruition. We’re the guys that have to make things go on offense and I know that I’m excited about. I’m sure those guys are excited about it. It’s good to have those guys here with me.”

Fitzpatrick echoed those thoughts, saying, “All three of us bonded over that right away about three years ago now. It’s cool for us. Outside of all the football talk and how excited we are about the upcoming season, just in terms of the lessons, you look at Fred and what’s he’s done. Just as life lesson somebody that’s chased his goal for so long and to be able to accomplish it even though he was told no so many times. He had to go through so many different doors that got shut in his face and he tried to open them again and they’d get shut in his face. There are a lot of guys on the team that went through that. He’s really the one that is the best example of it because of the path that he took and now to be rewarded for everything’s he’s done. That’s something we bonded over last year as we played. It’s nice to see that financially you set yourself up to where your family is taken care of and I think that’s very important. Now you get out on the field and you can play and not have to worry about any of that stuff.”

Jackson had a long road, starting in Division III Coe College, and then playing in NFL Europe and in the National Indoor Football League before finally getting his shot in Buffalo.  He’s certainly the only player in the NFL to boast a resume’ containing Coe College, the Rhein Fire and the Sioux City Bandits.  And Jackson will never forget his roots.

Asked if he still feels like he’ll have a Division III chip on his shoulder, Jackson said:  “Without a doubt. That’s never going anywhere. That’s kind of what got to me where I am today. I’ll definitely continue to try and work hard and prove that I belong here because you have to prove that you belong here. You can’t settle for anything. I won’t settle. I’ll continue to keep working and hopefully continue to make plays for my team.”


The Bills took a shot on another Division III player this week as well, signing undrafted free agent quarterback Alex Tanney, who racked up the NCAA record for most touchdown passes in a career.  Maybe the Bills can find another DIII gem like Jackson.

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